Repino ready for England arrival ahead of World Cup


Sky Sports News reporter Kaveh Solhekol reports from Repino, England's base for the World Cup in Russia.

Final preparations are taking place across the tiny Russian village of Repino as the residents prepare for the arrival of some of the biggest names in European football.

England’s World Cup hotel, ForRest Mix Club, is on lockdown ahead of the arrival of Gareth Southgate’s team on Tuesday. Military police are stationed outside the forest-laden health spa, while police officers regularly patrol the quiet streets around the grounds.

But other than that, you would barely know the world’s biggest tournament will be happening less than an hour’s drive away in St Petersburg.

1:52 Rob Dorsett of Sky Sports is on location at England's World Cup headquarters in Repino

Life continues for the 2,400 residents of the village on the Gulf of Finland. The church bells are rung every hour, tourists still arrive from the city to enjoy the country air and there is barely a poster or banner promoting the World Cup. You would never know Harry Kane, Dele Alli and another 21 Premier League stars are about to come to town.

In the Cronwell Hotel, where England’s media conferences and interviews will take place, it is a different matter.

The hotel’s games room has been converted into a top-notch media lounge with rooms for the press, comfy chairs for player chats, big screens and space for a bite to eat.

Two things remain, however. The tenpin bowling alley is still in place and the karaoke machine has been moved into the FA’s offices. I presume for safe-keeping, not to practice.

The ForRest Mix Club has been selected not only for its secure location but also because it is large enough for the players to be able to switch off in many different ways as soon as training and pre-match preparations come to an end.

In some ways, it is very similar to their base at St George’s Park in Derbyshire. Rural and remote but quiet and modest, especially when compared to previous World Cups.

If the players do leave the hotel grounds for something other than training they will be welcomed by the locals without being mobbed.

They could even pop down to the nearby beach but I would not recommend dipping a toe in the water, it is still nippy at times up here in northern Russia.

Sky Sports News will be live from Russia every day during the World Cup. Join us for World Cup Breakfast at 8am before World Cup Report at midday and 5pm.