• England fans feel welcome despite diplomatic tensions
  • ‘The World Cup does have the power to change things’

England supporters spent the early hours of Tuesday morning drinking in the bars of Volgograd, as the team’s first game at the tournament went off without trouble, despite fears before the tournament.

England were cheered on to a 2-1 win against Tunisia by a much smaller contingent of supporters than usual for a major tournament, with poisonous bilateral relations and the fears of a repeat of the violence in Marseille two years ago putting many fans off making the trip. But those who came were almost uniformly positive about the experience so far. At a central Volgograd bar in the early hours of Tuesday, Craig and Tommy, two Sunderland fans, were practising Russian phrases with obliging locals and said they had spent three days in “fantastic” Volgograd, bonding with the locals and taking military history tours.

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Read More England fans enjoy stay in Volgograd with no repeat of Marseille violence

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