Hernias and heat - the World Cup has started

England fans have been on their best behaviour so far in Brazil
England fans have been on their best behaviour so far in Brazil
Pompey's Brett Pitman scores a penalty in the Blues' 1-1 draw against Walsall at Fratton Park. Picture: Joe Pepler/Digital South.

Picture gallery: Pompey 1 Walsall 1

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It didn’t go well for England on the pitch against Italy, in terms of the result.

But, I can tell you, everyone is having a great time off the pitch out here in Brazil.

I’m here as part of my role with the Football Supporters’ Federation.

We are running a fans’ embassy for any problems our followers encounter while in South America.

The only incidents we’ve heard of so far is one fan is in hospital having picked up a hernia lifting his suitcase at the airport. I kid you not!

He’s travelled 6,000 miles only to miss the first game because his bag was too heavy!

His friends were concerned that, when they flew on to Sao Paulo, he would be left on his own in a hospital where no-one seems to speak English.

We got the British Consulate involved and they were quick to reassure him they would be on hand to help him on his way when the doctors are ready to release him.

The only other incident of note we heard about was after the game when a young England fan was assaulted by a rather large Italian.

Locals were quick to step in and separate them and to summon some nearby police.

The Italian was arrested and when we got the consulate involved, the Englishman’s only decision was whether he wanted to press charges.

While on the subject, I must say that the consulate have been extremely helpful.

They sent their own team of five people to Manaus, and four of those speak Portuguese.

We did manage a couple of days off, an unusual luxury. I was determined to do as little as possible as I’ve found I have a rather large backlog of letters to the Trust to answer.

Now the action is under way, the trials and tribulations of the travelling to reach Brazil is a distant memory.

Most of us are used to checking our bags all the way through to our destination, but not so in Brazil.

Even if you are connecting with an internal flight, you must collect your bags and then check in again.

We had to tackle a horrendous queue for immigration and passport control, which took us about an hour to negotiate.

We then decided to pick up our match tickets from the Fifa collection point – cue another long queue and 45 minutes killed!

We eventually reached our hotel in Manaus about 3.30am – 26 hours after arriving at Heathrow.

It was a tough trip, but I have to thank the Brazilians for making it more bearable for us.

England fans were thin on the ground in Manaus at first and helpline enquiries were mostly ticket related.

So it’s quiet so far – let’s hope it stays that way.

The game was the hottest I’ve ever been to.

It was so hot a new England song appeared.

All I can say is it involved sweating and clapping!

No-one has been too down about the result. Unlike South Africa, everyone agrees the players put in 100 per cent. It’s just a shame they didn’t take their chances.

n Pompey Supporters’ Trust vice chairman Ken Malley is one of several News readers who will be keeping us informed of their experiences in Brazil as they follow England at the World Cup.

See The News throughout the tournament for more diary entries!