World Cup 2018: Sheffield's England band leader making most of 'awesome' atmosphere in Russia

It is certainly safe to say it has certainly been a World Cup of surprises in Russia so far this summer.

Wednesday, 27th June 2018, 7:36 pm
Updated Wednesday, 27th June 2018, 7:48 pm
The view the England band had for the Panama game.

Holders Germany eliminated after finishing bottom of their group, Croatia beating Lionel Messi and Argentina 3-0 and Switzerland holding Brazil to a 1-1.

That's without even mentioning England scoring six in a World Cup finals game.

John Hemminghamand pictured in London before leaving to Russia for the 2018 World Cup.

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And despite countless stories about possible hooliganism and violence, one thing that also shouldn't be classed as a surprise is the fantastic atmosphere - that's according to England band lead John Hemmingham, of Sheffield.

Speaking from Kaliningrad ahead of the Three Lions' final group game against Belgium tomorrow, John, 55, said: "The atmosphere is awesome. The whole place is just awesome and things that we were told before we got here are absolute rubbish.

"The people love us, the places we've visited are really interesting and no-one can do enough for us. Everything is half the price at home too which helps. It's really good."

The tournament is the band's sixth World Cup and they will once again be cheering on Gareth Southgate's men at the Kaliningrad Stadium tomorrow (Thursday) night.

The view the England band had for the Tunisia game.

John added: "I feel as safe as you can be. It's quite the opposite to what everyone was saying. It's our sixth World Cup and we feel as safe as we have done anywhere."

As for matters on the field, John said England fans were growing in confidence after the Three Lions beat Panama 6-1 on Sunday to secure qualification to the knockout stages, with a game to spare.

He added: "The tournament is wide open and Germany going home is great. If we get in the right side of the draw then we'll get an easier run but it's a danger saying that because look at what happened when we lost to Iceland at Euro 2016.

"You have always got to be on our game but it certainly makes it no worse for us Germany being knocked out."

John Hemmingham (centre) and the England band in Russia for the 2018 World Cup.

England face Belgium tomorrow (7pm) and depending on if they win Group G or finish second will play their round of 16 knockout game on either Monday or Tuesday (both 7pm).