As the nation bites its collective nails ahead of tonight’s all-important match against Uruguay, MP Mark Simmonds, a junior foreign office minister, explains his role helping out England fans at the World Cup...
Along with many other football fans this summer, I will be watching England compete in the 2014 World Cup.
There is nothing like a large scale football competition to bring a country together and I know that there will be many people in Boston and Skegness cheering Roy Hodgson, Steven Gerrard and the rest of the England team.
Aside from supporting England in the World Cup as a football fan, my role as a Minister in the Foreign & Commonwealth Office means that I am responsible for overseeing the UK government’s consular and Brazilian security preparations for England fans visiting Brazil.
The main aim of my recent visit to Brazil was to speak to key governmental representatives and ensure that English fans can have fun safely.
It is also my responsibility to guarantee England fans are receiving the correct advice and information whilst they are enjoying the football in Sao Paulo. I discussed these issues in depth with the Sao Paulo deputy mayor.
I was determined to ensure that England fans will have consular support at every England game.
I was very pleased to be able to visit the stadium in Sao Paulo where England will play Uruguay on Thursday and saw the FIFA Fans Fest– the area where fans without tickets can watch the matches.
I also oversaw and examined a test of crisis responses by British government staff in Sao Paulo in the event of an emergency or crisis
The England team have been doing everything they can to prepare for the competition from training in humid conditions wearing long sleeves to riding exercise bikes in saunas.
It is right that the UK Government has also done everything we can to ensure England fans are safe whilst in Brazil.
*Mark will not be attending any games in person.