World Cup player watch: England stars go bowling and first ball’s finally kicked

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A daily look at what the tournament’s players have been getting up to in their time off the pitch.

Jesse Lingard enjoyed a spot of bowling in Repino on Thursday

It’s been a busy day for England, but it all started with something more important than football – as the Three Lions held a minute’s silence in training to mark the first anniversary of the Grenfell Tower disaster.

England – FIFA World Cup 2018 – Media Activity – 14th June
England players observed a minute’s silence to honour the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire, during the training session at the Spartak Zelenogorsk Stadium, Zelenogorsk (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Later, Harry Kane wrote on Instagram: “It’s important to keep perspective in life. Remembering all the victims and their families one year on from the disaster.”

After training in Repino was finished, the players were able to let off some steam with a trip to the local bowling alley…

England's Jesse Lingard bowling at Repino Cronwell Park, Repino (Owen Humphreys/PA Wire)
England’s Jesse Lingard bowling at Repino Cronwell Park, Repino (Owen Humphreys/PA Wire)

… followed by a spot of darts.

England – FIFA World Cup 2018 – Media Activity – 14th June
England’s Gary Cahill plays Darts during a media session at Repino Cronwell Park, Repino.


Away from England, many of the players have been busy posing for FIFA’s official profiles. Belgium, who only flew in on Wednesday, appeared to be among the last to be pictured.

Here are some of the earlier results…


Meanwhile, some sides were putting their final preparations together – such as Germany, who play on Sunday against Mexico, and Peru, who take on Denmark on Sunday.

Seguimos @luchocarrillopac ??⚽️

A post shared by Sergio Peña (@sergiop28) on

For others, though, the sessions perhaps weren’t quite so tough.

Unsurprisingly, after all the hard yards, many of the players were clearly itching for the festival of football to begin – not least German pair Mesut Ozil and Mats Hummels.

And with the first game finally under way, Poland’s Grzegorz Krychowiak perhaps best summed up how we were all feeling.

We all have a smile because World Cup begins ? #worldcup #smile #gopoland

A post shared by Grzegorz Krychowiak (@grzegorz.krychowiak) on

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