Brewing up a recipe for World Cup success with tea, darts and crafts

<span>Photograph: Zac Goodwin/PA</span>” data-src=”–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTU3Ng–/” src=”–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTU3Ng–/”></img></p>
<p><figcaption><span>Photograph: Zac Goodwin/PA</span></figcaption></p>
<h2><strong>HOME IS WHERE THE ART IS</strong></h2>
<p>Ahead of England’s second World Cup group game against Denmark on Friday, the travelling press-pack were invited to visit the enclosure where the Lionesses have set up home in Brisbane. Whereas the access of hacks covering the England men’s team on their travels is generally restricted to scheduled press conferences, the first 15 minutes of certain training sessions and the occasional game of darts with James Maddison, the Football Association are so proud of the “home away from home” they’ve designed for Sarina Wiegman and her squad that they organised a guided tour to show off their bespoke digs.</p>
<p>With its walls unsurprisingly festooned with photos of the players and the kind of twee motivational messages more readily associated with the Little Book of Calm or Jake Humphrey’s LinkedIn page, England’s base certainly does resemble a home from home. Not least for any players whose residences are plastered in giant branded pictures of themselves and boast broadcast studios, conference rooms named after Lioness legends, a games room, library and Nike craft station where visitors can make jewellery, gussy up their trainers or do some colouring-in.</p>
<p><span>Related: </span>‘Stairway to heaven’: inside England’s inspirational World Cup training base</p>
<p>With or without their pool and ping-pong tables, video games, endless amounts of Yorkshire tea and various other amenities that will almost certainly be used as a stick with which to beat them should they crash out of the tournament, boredom is often a factor for players cloistered away at a month-long tournament. Happily, England’s women will get to alleviate any tedium they may be enduring when they face the Danes on Friday.</p>
<p>Following a seriously underwhelming performance against Haiti which they just about got away with, Wiegman must now decide to stick or twist when it comes to team selection. Given the Dutch manager’s habit of sticking with a settled starting line-up, any alterations are likely to be kept to a minimum. Having watched her team fail to score from open play in three consecutive internationals and one behind-closed-doors friendly she may be tempted to make a change up front and in Rachel Daly has a striker champing at the bit to be involved from the first whistle.</p>
<p>“Nobody’s happy to sit on the bench,” said the Aston Villa striker and WSL Golden Boot winner following England’s opener. “If you are then you are not in the right place, not in the right career. But that’s the beauty of having a competitive squad; everybody’s digging for a position. It’s a headache Sarina has to have in multiple positions. I wouldn’t like to be in her shoes making such big decisions.” Heavy is the head that wears the crown made from cardboard, tin-foil, sticky-back plastic and costume jewellery at the Nike craft station.</p>
<h2><strong>QUOTE OF THE DAY</strong></h2>
<p>“I’m fuming about it, I’ve got to be honest with you. It was a clumsy, reckless challenge in a pre-season game and I’m not happy with it at all. I haven’t seen the goalie and he’s probably best steering clear of us for the time being because we’re not very happy. It should have been a straight red. If it’s not denying a goalscoring opportunity it’s still a dangerous challenge so if you add the two scenarios together he should have been off the pitch” – in what will make for a dramatic episode of Welcome to Wrexham, fresh and funky manager after Manchester United goalkeeper Nathan Bishop’s challenge left Paul Mullin with a punctured lung in a “friendly”. It was quite the evening at the Snapdragon Stadium that featured a frenzy of yellow cards, one red, <em>that</em> injury to Mullin, a half-naked pitch invader and a 3-1 victory for the League Two side.</p>
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Scenes in San Diego. Photograph: Allison Dinner/EPA


Can I be the first of 1,057 UNC graduates to note that Football Daily would have been hard pressed to enjoy shrimp and grits at Crook’s Corner instead of seeing Wrexham AFC play in Chapel Hill last week? Crook’s (which did offer absolutely world-class shrimp and grits) has lamentably closed. Chicken biscuits can still be obtained at Time Out, but I’d stick to their mac ‘n’ cheese and fried okra. Sunrise Kitchen does a better biscuit. Maybe takeaway to bring to a 21-time national champions UNC womens’ match?” – Patrick Connolly.

Commiserations to the poorly-advised Kyle Walker, who looks set to sign for little-known German outfit, Bayern Something-or-other. With better representation, he too could have tested his mettle in a real league like the Saudi Pro League or MLS. While one-time Galactico-bester Lionel Messi locks horns domestically with Baloo the Bear and Goofy, and CR7 carts home his Saudi doubloons after wowing audiences of up to 10,000 fans, poor Kyle will just have to make do with life in the Bundesliga. If only he had a little ambition” – Johnny Connelly.

Ed Taylor suggested in yesterday’s Football Daily that the Saudi Arabia PIF should get in the bin. I assume he means the Scrooge McDuck money bin that Edward Dean was telling us about earlier in the same letters column. In which case, may I suggest, they probably already have their own” – Richard Morris.

A Ewen Anderson’s friend (yesterday’s letters), he didn’t have to buy a phone, has he kept the receipt? Not wishing to defend Fifa but their ticket app, does let you store multiple tickets for a game. We used only one phone to get into a very entertaining Italy v Argentina game in Auckland. However you both need to be at the ‘turnstile’ with the phone at the same time” – Iggy.

Send your letters to Today’s winner of our prizeless letter o’ the day is … Johnny Connelly.

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