PARIS, France, June 6 – England’s 23-man squad arrived at Paris Airport-Le Bourget on Monday afternoon after departing from Luton in the morning ahead of the start of Euro 2016 on Friday.
Roy Hodgson’s side face Russia in their opening game in Marseilles on Saturday but will first arrive at their base in Chantilly, 34 miles north of Paris.
Waiting for them across the Channel is their team bus, which made the journey from the team hotel to the airport earlier in the day.
Hodgson’s men were suited and booted as they boarded the plane and posed for the now traditional team-photo on the stairs up to the cockpit.
England drawn in Group B alongside Russia, Wales and Slovakia, warmed-up for the tournament with three wins out of three in their friendlies against Turkey, Australia and Portugal.
They signed off in their final warm-up match with a 1-0 win over the 10-man Portuguese at Wembley on Thursday night, with centre-back Chris Smalling heading the winning goal.
The performance attracted criticism in some quarters as Hodgson’s side struggled to break-down ambition less opponents.
The first-half was marred by centre-back Bruno Alves’ high challenge on Harry Kane, which resulted in a red card for the 34-year-old and prompted the away side to sit back and defend.
Kane tried to get on with the game despite his head coming into contact with his opponent’s boot, and Hodgson praised the striker’s reaction before declining to teach England to adopt a cynical edge to get the better of others in France this summer.
“Harry’s first instinct when he didn’t get kicked severely was to carry on and to try and do something with the ball,” he said.
“Some people might say that’s very laudable, others might say you’ve got to go down, you’ve got to be cynical. I find the cynicism quite a hard thing to coach.
“Unfortunately that’s a very hard thing to teach. I think it has to be taught – if it’s going to be taught – at a very early age and be part of your culture; I’ve said many times I don’t think it is part of our culture. There will be occasions – and I take the point – that there will be a penalty, the player stays on his feet and maybe then it will be a very relevant question.”
“But again…that’s hard for me, also being English, to start trying to teach people a manner of playing which I’ve never subscribed to and they don’t subscribe to.”
Liverpool midfielder James Milner is convinced that England’s success at the European Championship will be defined by what happens against Russia on Saturday.
What I’ve learned more than anything is don’t lose your first game, whatever happens,’ Milner warned as he prepared for his fourth campaign.
“It’s great to win it and get off to a flying start, but if you can’t get that win make sure you are solid and don’t concede late on looking for the winner.”
Meanwhile Russia striker Artem Dzyuba is not nervous about the prospect of facing England at Euro 2016 and is keen to open his country’s tournament campaign with a win over the group favourites.
“England are a very good team – but we talked about how from all the top seeds that is who we wanted to draw.” said Dzyuba.
“It’s no reflection on England – it’s just that the other five nations we could have drawn as top seeds are among the nations who are the favorites to win the tournament.”
“It’s not an easy group, there is no such thing, but we are also aware that it could have been worse for us. England with their big names are the favorites on paper – but it’s a very competitive group – all four nations will believe they have a real chance.”
-By Daily Mail-