England Fan Braves Stormy Seas, Stormier Politics to Reach World Cup

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But after deciding last week to make the trip, he said he had been "blown away" by the welcome from the locals in Volgograd, where England will play Tunisia in their World Cup opener on Monday.

England hero Harry Kane said he and his team-mates had flies in their mouths during a last-gasp World Cup victory over Tunisia.

Maguire knows all about fan expectations having been a regular at Three Lions matches as a youngster - a habit he reprised two years ago when travelling to watch Euro 2016 with family and friends.

Meanwhile, England and Tunisia players also had to battle swarms of Volgograd midges.

"It looked like it could have been one of those nights again, but like I said, we've got great togetherness".

Already, Gareth Southgate's side have more wins than they managed in Brazil in 2014, and with Kane on fire in attack, there could be more to come.

"In a World Cup, you're never sure how it's going to go and in recent years the first games have always been hard".

Such considered tutelage coupled with the promise at his disposal has brought encouragement ahead of the World Cup, but it is underpinned by common sense.

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For a while, it worked, which came nearly as much as a surprise to England's players as it did everyone else.

"They're really glad to have us here".

Lukaku scored a brace to break the resistance of a fearless Panama side on their World Cup debut. It's true that they controlled the match towards the end.

That was only his third goal in 20 appearances, though, and his second in 16 games under Southgate - most as a substitute - so the manager was justified in resisting calls to drop Raheem Sterling in favour of Rashford against Tunisia.

Tunisia arrived in Russian Federation with a reputation for a solid defence, but they looked shaky early in the game and Kane pounced to put England ahead.

"I think it's going to be an exciting time to watch these boys play".

While there was no official scorekeeper, he said he believed they had been 3-0 down at one point only to pull it back to 5-4 against a skilful side.

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