There are unique ways to get ready for your country’s biggest game in three decades, and then there is what England did to get ready for the 2018 World Cup semifinals against Croatia.
The players have already raced inflated unicorns in the hotel swimming pool. Now they are training with a rubber chicken ahead of the July 11 match in Russia.
Odd? Sure. It is also great and welcoming to see.
Seeking their first World Cup title since 1966, when they hosted the event, England doesn’t seem rattled by the media attention or pressure to win it all. In fact, it’s quite the opposite, and the players have been a delight to follow in 2018.
This training method is further proof.
Harry Kane, Eric Dier, Jordan Pickford and company haven’t been the only ones having a blast. It’s been complete pandemonium after each win back home.
England defeated Tunisia (2-1) and Panama (6-1) before losing to Group G winner Belgium 1-0 in group play, and knocked off Colombia in penalty kicks in the Round of 16.
It was the first time the country advanced in penalty kicks at the World Cup, ending a streak of misery.
In the quarterfinals, Harry Maguire and Dele Alli scored in a 2-0 win over Sweden to advance to the semifinal stage for the first time in 28 years at the 1990 World Cup in Talty.
They face Croatia for the first time ever at the World Cup at 2 p.m. ET at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium on Wednesday. The winner will advance to play France in the World Cup Finals on Sunday, July 15.
Swapping the soccer ball for a rubber chicken might be in poor taste to some in a training session before a game on the world’s biggest stage, but that is not who this team is.
If this England team wants to make sure the trophy is coming home, they just need to keep being themselves. It’s obviously working for the Three Lions right now.