England fans have received a warm welcome after arriving in Russia ahead of the Three Lions’ first World Cup game against Tunisia on Monday.
Supporters descended on Volgograd and were greeted by enthusiastic locals, with some even wearing England or Premier League football shirts themselves.
In the city, more than 500 miles from Moscow, fans enjoyed themselves at a bar as they watched Argentina play Iceland on a large screen set up in the city.
One of the supporters, Chris Clarke, 48, from Staffordshire, said he was “a bit worried” about going to Russia but soon realised it was an “amazing place”.
“It’s so clean, so friendly and everyone is really polite,” he said. “Everyone’s coming up to me asking me where I’m from. I’ve seen about 10 England fans, there’s more Russians in England shirts.
“Yesterday I wasn’t wearing my England shirt and no one came to me – today everyone is coming to me and welcoming me to Russia.”
The football fan, who was in Marseille during at the European Championships, was worried there could be a repeat of the violence which marred the 2016 tournament.
When asked if he was nervous about wearing his England shirt, Mr Clarke said: “Yesterday yes, today not at all – straight on this morning.
“I was in Marseille – it wasn’t good at all. But I’ve spoken to Russians in the last two years and they’ve said that’s not what Russia is like. And I believe them.”
Another fan, David Inniss, 52, from Cornwall, said Volgograd was “absolutely brilliant” and that the people there were “really nice”.
Martin Barnes, also from Cornwall, said he was a “little bit” concerned about reports of potential violence. He added: “We travelled over not wearing our colours, but everyone else is so we thought why not.
“We just want to represent our country. The excitement is a lot greater than the anticipation.”
England’s first match kicks off at 7pm UK time.