I awoke this morning to the classic sound of a cockerel heralding in a brand new day here in this picturesque landscape, set midst the low lying mountains of Bavaria. CUT.
Not true .... I awoke this morning to the sound of workmen demolishing a building just the other side of the road from our hotel. Slightly less romantic and poetic than my opening lines but a whole lot nearer the truth.
However, that apart, the weather outside was somewhat cloudy but with the sun eagerly trying to force its way through. Unfortunately though the forecast is for rain at some point and possibly a thunderstorm.
Following breakfast and the regular coaches meeting, the schedule for the morning ahead was displayed. This showed that training would begin at 11am following medical prep here at the hotel. Training started with 15 minutes of finishing followed by 20 minutes of counter attacking. Then it was on to concentrating on high pressure before everybody came together for an 11v11 game. There was still more to come with 15 minutes of SSG - small sides games, and finally a session on positional runs.
After that gruelling morning session it was back to the hotel for the regular ice bath before showering and preparing for lunch. During lunch the expected rain arrived, but moved on rather rapidly.
After lunch and relaxation time, the gym was the port of call for most of the players although some of them had a set piece meeting before they too were ready for the gym session.
Then it was the medical clinic as it was decided not to do the regular evening clinic tonight as we would all be watching the first of the two World Cup Semi Finals.
Mid afternoon I took the opportunity to walk into Grassau itself, just over a mile or so from the hotel. Very pleasant it was too and, as a number of Bees fans will find out this weekend, the scenery in all directions really catches the eye, as indeed do the houses, almost every one of them decorated with flowers.
Having strolled along the main street I was hailed by a cyclist who knew my name. Funnily enough I knew his also as Dean Smith had cycled into town to get a haircut. Once he had found a barbiere, he tells me he requested a “number 2 haircut”. Fortunately the lady who was about to cut his air suggested a “number 9 haircut” which is the German equivalent of the number 2. Had he gone ahead with the 2 he would have looked like our shaven headed masseur “Sladey”. Not a good look for Dean, in the same way that Sladey would now look very odd with a mop of hair on top of his head.
Anyway, Dean and I met up after he had had the snip, and we enjoyed a quality hour and a half chatting over a coffee or two, before strolling back to the hotel in plenty of time for dinner at 7.
After dinner it was Ezri’s turn to do a song and he did a very passable version of "Confessions" by Usher
Then it was time to watch the France v Belgium match. As you may imagine, our Francophone quartet of Yoann, Neal, Said and Nicolas Jover hogged the front four seats in front of the huge screen in the hotel’s lobby area. You can only imagine the commotion when Umtiti scored what proved to be the winner in the 51st minute. Come the final whistle, Yoann leapt into the air, whilst Neal and Said hugged each other. Nicolas however took it all in his stride and sat there in quiet celebration.
I don’t know what the other hotel guests thought re Yoann’s celebrations , but you can guarantee it will be nothing compared to the celebrations that will ensue should England do the business on Wednesday night.