England given samba-style welcome

Blackpool Citizen: Roy Hodgson and his team arrived in Brazil on Sunday Roy Hodgson and his team arrived in Brazil on Sunday

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was the only absentee from training as England were given a samba-style welcome to their World Cup base in Rio de Janeiro.

England held their first session at the Urca military base in Rio on Monday afternoon - 24 hours after they landed in Brazil for the final leg of their World Cup preparations.

A samba band made up of 20 children from local Sport Relief funded project Bola Pra Frente greeted the squad as they came out to train in the near 30-degree heat.

Manager Roy Hodgson and his players then held up a banner while the band played which read: "Obrigado Brasil pela recepcao calorosa", meaning "Thank you Brazil for the warm welcome".

A local man sang Queen song 'We are the Champions' as the squad posed for pictures.

Oxlade-Chamberlain posed for the photo with his fellow squad members before disappearing for some rehab work on his injured knee indoors.

All the rest of the squad then trained as normal on the pitch, which is on a military base in the shadow of Rio's iconic landmark Sugar Loaf Mountain.

James Milner caused a brief scare when he lay down on the floor, but he only required a plaster for a blister.

Local school children and guests from the Special Olympics joined the vast army of media who had gathered to watch the session.

England begin their World Cup campaign against Italy in Manaus on Saturday.

They arrived in South America having drawn their final two warm-up games against Ecuador and Honduras in Miami.

Steven Gerrard and Adam Lallana disappeared from training earlier than the rest of the squad, but there was no suggestion either player was injured.

In a welcome boost for England, Oxlade-Chamberlain later emerged to undertake some intensive shuttle runs with fitness coach Tony Strudwick.

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