Armed Forces inspire England World Cup team
Soldiers from 664 Squadron, 4 Regiment Army Air Corps from Watisham show their support for the England World Cup Squad at their base in Camp Bastion, Afghanistan. All images remain crown copyright. Photo credit to read - Sergeant Ian Forsyth RLC
Amid the feverish build-up towards England’s first World Cup match tonight, the team has taken time to thank the men and women of the Armed Forces for the outstanding contribution they make to the UK.
A host of former players and pundits have also sent their personal messages of support for Armed Forces Day which takes place on Saturday 26 June – potentially the same day as England’s second round match.
During Prime Minister David Cameron’s first visit to Afghanistan this week he read a moving tribute from England manager Fabio Capello and his World Cup team:
While the players receive incredible support from the country as we are about to kick off in the World Cup, it is important you know how much all of your efforts mean to all of the players and staff with the England team.
Your brave service to your country means so much to the players and I and we all have complete respect of the incredible sacrifices you and your families make.
While we will be doing all we can to achieve success in South Africa for the whole country we want you to know that we believe you are the real heroes.
Our Boys and Girls have also pledged their support for the England team. To help spur them on to victory, England players were shown a video of soldiers based in Camp Bastion in Helmand, Afghanistan waving England flags and displaying their enthusiastic support for the team.
England captain Steven Gerrard said:
We watched the DVD from the troops in Afghanistan and it was inspiring – very moving and touching. They were a mix of ages, all passionate about football and wearing the shirts of the different teams they support back home.
This film puts it all into perspective. We realise what they are doing out there for our country. It drives you on when you realise the kind of people who are behind you and how much it means to them that we do well.
England’s last friendly at Wembley against Mexico was a special tribute to our servicemen and women. Around 1,000 Armed Forces personnel were provided with free tickets by the FA through the Service charity Tickets for Troops.
Some of the messages of support:
I was overwhelmed by the courage and bravery of the Armed Forces serving in Afghanistan. Having seen first hand the vital job that they are doing, it is a privilege to give my support to Armed Forces Day. The nation owes the Armed Forces an enormous amount and Armed Forces Day is a superb way of how we all can show them that they have our support.
The Armed Forces do an amazing job for us, and I support all of our brave sailors, soldiers and airmen, serving overseas and at home.
There are more messages of support for our troops on the Armed Forces Day site here.
Gooooo England!! (Sorry, America. Maybe next time...lol)
H/T Armed Forces Day on FB.