England World Cup base: Jaffa Cakes & video games
World Cup whispers: England ask for baked beans - Germany build their own village
England's footballers will be able to feast on Jaffa Cakes and baked beans in their own private video games suite once they arrive in Rio, reports the Daily Mirror. England's base, the Royal Tulip Hotel (above), has sealed off two floors for the squad, and the players will have exclusive access to the gym and pool for several hours a day. "They've asked us to set aside one of our three restaurants, and we're giving them a dedicated video games room with three TVs," revealed general manager George Durante.
England's World Cup demands appear relatively modest in comparison with those of some other teams. The French squad, dogged by in-fighting four years ago, has demanded that every room in the luxurious JP Hotel, in Sao Paulo, is painted the same colour. Uruguay have requested silent air conditioning and the Bosnians have had a sound-proof barrier installed at their hotel so players can't overhear the coaches. Ecuador, meanwhile, want daily deliveries of local bananas.
Unsurprisingly, perhaps, the German squad has gone to the greatest lengths to ensure it is prepared for the tournament. In the pursuit of more World Cup glory, the Germans have built their own private training camp from scratch on the east coast of Bahia, 20 miles from the nearest town. Thanks to a lucrative sponsorship deal with Mercedes, Joachim Loew's men will be based at a "home away from home" comprising 13 houses and 65 rooms.
There could be trouble ahead for England striker Rickie Lambert, who claims in a new book that no professional footballer should ever miss a penalty. The Southampton man, who has a 100% record from the spot in five years with the Saints, makes the claim in Twelve Yards, out this week. His team-mates might not share Lambert's confidence - England have lost five of the six penalty shoot-outs they have been involved in, the most recent against Italy in 2012.
Despite being the lowest ranked side at this summer's World Cup, Australia could still be one of the tournament's highest earning teams. The Socceroos will pocket £3,500 per game from the Australian Football Federation and with prize money added to the equation, stand to make as much as £1.4m from the tournament in total – win, lose or draw. Even if Australia fail to make it past the group stage each player will still receive £82,000, reports ABC.
Former England captain David Beckham has nailed his colours to the mast, claiming that Roy Hogdson's team has what it takes to "go really far" at the World Cup. He praised Hodgson's squad for its blend of youth and experience and said the team would play without fear. "I think that we can cause a few upsets, a few surprises," he told Sky Sports.