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England squad arrive at Rio hotel in Brazil to be greeted by ranks of riot police

Monday, June 09, 2014 by Sunday People

The fearsome team of 24 military coppers carrying semi-automatic weapons are part of the largest security operation in Brazilian history


I predict a riot: England stars are well protected

England’s Boys from Brazil landed in Rio today carrying the hopes of a nation.

But while Roy Hodgson and his team had football on their minds, the huge security operation in place to meet them looked more suited to a riot.

The squad flew into a private military base at 8.30am local time to be greeted by a welcoming committee and searing 29C heat.

There was also a cavalcade of police outriders and vehicles to meet the team at the Galealo army base close to the main international airport.

They accompanied the official Three Lions Rio 2014 tour bus - emblazoned with the emblem “The dream of one team, the heartbeat of millions” - to the luxury Golden Tulip on Sao Conrado beach.

And a fearsome team of 24 Brazilian military police lined up at the hotel’s main reception, all carrying semi-automatic weapons and riot shields, to meet Hodgson and his side as they got off the bus.

They will be on duty 24-hours a day for the month-long tournament as the team enjoy the indoor and outdoor pools, five-star restaurants and bars.

Two Brazilian naval vessels stand guard off shore there as part of the biggest security operation in the country’s history.

President Dilma Rousseff ordered all 32 teams to have security stepped up after an attack on the Brazil team by protestors two weeks ago.

Manager Felipe Scholari and his players were shocked when 200 extremist teachers attacked the team coach, kicking and punching the vehicle and abusing players as they got off.

But the military cops and extra hotel security ensured skipper Steven Gerrard and his side had the day to relax, warm down and unwind by the pool with magnificent views of the world famous Sugar Loaf mountains.


Stevie G: Captain sneaks a peek at massed police

Hodgson now has the week to prepare his young squad for their World Cup opening match against Italy in Manaus on Saturday night.

And after meeting local dignitaries and Fifa officials, Hodgson said: “Now is when the real football begins.”

The words were reassuring for millions of fans back home after two friendlies in the US ended in draws.

Hodgson watched his players sweat it out on exercise bikes by the pool as Brazilian bikini-clad beauties looked on.

In contrast to previous tournaments, the team has just two floors of the 17-floor, 418-room hotel, with the public and fellow guests allowed to mingle freely with them.

“It has been three excellent weeks of preparation,” Hodgson said on arrival. “The squad is growing stronger, they are bonding together very well and the mood is one of quiet optimism.

“Now is when the real football begins. The players have really done as much as we could ask of them.”

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