John Halewood-Dodd column

John Halewood Dodd.

John Halewood Dodd.

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I missed the deadline for last week’s column but with good reason as I was en route to Brazil.

I was probably too excited about the prospect of being present at what I believe is living up to its billing as the greatest football tournament ever.

We flew into Recife in the North-East of this vast country last Tuesday, and initially there was little evidence to suggest that such a sporting spectacle was about to take place.

Then the atmosphere hit us, and we were soon like kids waiting for Christmas as the build up to the opening game intensified.

Everyone here seems to be football mad and we were now part of it.

Recife is a host city, and if England win their group their next game will be here.

The reason we are based here is not due to blind optimism but my good friends the Lingwoods (of Lingwood Securities) have villas here and were kind enough to invite me to stay with them.

We decided to watch the opening game in one of the designated fan-zones.

Everyone was covered from head to toe in the familiar yellow and blue of Brazil, apart from the Gringos from Lancaster and Morecambe who were all sporting England shirts.

Any hostility?

Not a bit of it as we were welcomed like visiting dignitaries.

We were interviewed by the local press, featured on Brazilian television, and it seemed as though everyone wanted their photograph taken with us.

Even though Croatia scored the first goal the smiles remained and when Brazil went on, as expected, to win the first game the party really began.

We celebrated with the locals right through the night and until then didn’t even know we could Samba.

By the time you read this England’s fate is likely to be decided as I write before setting off to São Paulo for our now crucial game with Uruguay.

Regardless of the result we are having such an unbelievable time that we are likely to be here for the entire competition, so I will be able to continue with my diary from Brazil.