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World Cup 2018: England arrive in Russia for tournament

World Cup 2018: England squad arrive in Russia

England have arrived in Russia before the World Cup, with manager Gareth Southgate saying he wants his team to play with flair and entertain the nation.

They landed at St Petersburg airport and will be based in the nearby village of Repino, in north west Russia.

England’s first game in Group G is against Tunisia on Monday.

“We hope we can send people to work the following day having enjoyed our matches,” said Southgate.

Moments after landing, Southgate told BBC Sport that Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford picked up a “slight knock” in training and will be assessed before Wednesday’s open training session.

The tournament begins on Thursday when hosts Russia face Saudi Arabia at 16:00 BST.

“To lead England as a manager is an incredibly proud moment,” said Southgate, who won 57 caps for England and played at the 1998 and 2002 World Cups.

“I will take a brief moment to take it in and then prepare for the matches we have got – and the task starts from when we get to the hotel.”

Reigning champions Germany have also arrived, landing at Vnukovo airport in south west Moscow. They open their campaign against Mexico on Sunday.

England also face Panama on 24 June and Belgium, one of the pre-tournament favourites, on 28 June.

Southgate’s side have warmed up with wins over Nigeria and Costa Rica, with many pundits praising the effective – and sometimes stylish – football on show.

Their displays have been in contrast to England’s performances in recent years, which critics say have been hallmarked by disjointed and often dull football – just 40,000 fans turned up for a friendly against Norway at Wembley in 2014, and some travelling fans booed