How England's Qatar World Cup squad are relaxing before Wales clash – The Crown binges to team's worst basketball player | The Sun

TENSIONS are high ahead of the World Cup’s first home nations clash between England and Wales. 

The historic match, dubbed the ‘Battle of Britain’, could eliminate the Dragons from the tournament after they qualified for the first time in 64 years.

The Three Lions are under the cosh too after a dull 0-0 draw against the USA, but have been finding plenty of ways to unwind ahead of tonight's showdown.

Yesterday, team members including John Stones, Eric Dier and Jude Bellingham were snapped soaking up the sun at the beach, while others lapped up luxury in the palm-tree-laden Souq Al-Wakra Hotel.

But it’s not the only way England’s World Cup squad have let their hair down – here we reveal what they’ve been up to… when they're not trying to bring it home.

Posh grub and massages

The Three Lions are staying in an opulent five-star resort, just 10 miles south of Doha and it's been kitted out to tailor to their needs.


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Jack Grealish shared behind-the-scenes snaps showing off a lush swimming pool at night with illuminated palm trees, comfy recliners and a couple of floating seats in the water.

Another showed forward Bukayo Saka tucking into a delicious-looking meal with tomato ketchup and a side.

The Arsenal midfielder has also been snapped preparing and drinking a blended fruit smoothie, which the England team have used to keep cool in Qatar.

After lengthy training sessions in the plus 40-degree heat, the players also had massages – one snap showed Grealish and Jude Bellingham receiving one.

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Jack Grealish and Bellingham receiving a massage at the luxury hotelCredit: Instagram
Bukayo Saka tucking into a lush-looking evening mealCredit: Instagram
Grealish revealed the stunning views around their hotel pool at nightCredit: Instagram
Harry Maguire revealed the famous inflatable unicorn was back in England's training campCredit: Instagram

And of course, any England campaign wouldn’t be complete without the now-famous inflatable unicorn, which has accompanied them since the 2018 Russia World Cup.

Harry Maguire shared a snap of the rainbow-haired blow-up, which he captioned: “Nice to meet you again."

The unicorn was sat on a small diving board alongside an inflatable crocodile by an impressive-looking indoor pool with a water polo net.

Darts, video games and basketball 

Between training sessions, the England team have found fun ways to compete without kicking a ball.

John Stones was captured in action as he tried to throw a ball over another player during a game of water polo. 

The team also have a pool table and game consoles which were hauled in especially to their hotel. 

Former England star turned pundit Ian Wright revealed they had also been playing darts.

The ITV star, who joined them for a game, said it kept them “upbeat” and in good spirits.

In one darts challenge, Declan Rice, Luke Shaw and Mason Mount all scored 66, which was some dubbed a "good omen" conjuring up memories of the 1966 World Cup win. 

Another sporting pastime has been basketball, with Kalvin Phillips claiming he was "the best in camp" and "Jack [Grealish] is definitely the worst".

To kill time, Phillips also revealed the team had been playing a "wolf card game" – believed to be called Werewolf, a murder strategy game.

In his World Cup diary, he wrote: "At first, it was a small group and now there's probably a group of 12 or 13 of them involved.

"It's definitely one you can watch, as it’s quite funny and even if I’m not around there, when they get somebody out, you can hear them cheering by the pool."

Beach dips and stray cats

Yesterday, a handful of the England team were seen walking down to the beach ahead of their clash with Wales.

The gang included Maguire, John Stones, Jude Bellingham, Eric Dier, Nick Pope, Aaron Ramsdale, Conor Coady, Calum Wilson and Kalvin Phillips.

Later, Stones, Dier and Bellingham took off their tops while strolling on the beach and edged close to the water. 

Before England's first game, it was revealed they had befriended a local cat, who Stones named 'Dave', and another that was missing an eye, nicknamed 'Paul'.

TV shows and yoga

Recently, Harry Kane and Dier recently revealed the essential items they bring ahead of a major tournament.

Among the skipper's choices were a leather diary, fluffy slippers to soothe his achy feet and facial cleanser.

Describing the product, which he branded his “nighttime beauty essential”, Kane said: “You’ve got to keep yourself looking young nowadays! Well, that’s what the wife says."

Opening up on his TV downloads, he said: “I just finished House Of The Dragon, I’m still watching Formula 1: Drive To Survive.

“There’s always something that pops up before a major tournament and I’ll just dive in… like the Euros was Game Of Thrones – for me that’s a fantastic series.”

When Dier was asked what show he was into, he sheepishly confessed: “The Crown… the new season just came out, so I’m into The Crown. I love it.”

Away from their viewing habits, the players have been practising yoga poses to unwind.

Personal hotel touches

During the World Cup, the players have rarely seen their families – some of whom are 6,700 miles away back in the UK.

However, to help the Three Lions deal with being away from their nearest and dearest, the hotels have added a few personal items. 

James Maddison told talkSPORT: “The set-up we got to the hotel it’s been absolutely brilliant. It is all down to the finer things, like the little touches.

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“I checked into my room and there are little framed pictures of my little boy and my family. It is just little things like that.”

He explained that it made him feel instantly at home in the camp, which is a 30-minute drive to capital city Doha and close to their 12,000-seater training base, the home of Al Wakrah SC.

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