Prince William gives royal send off to England football team ahead of World Cup

The England football team have left the country to start their World Cup 2014 "adventure" in Brazil.

Suited and booted, the team of 23 athletes posed with their manager Roy Hodgson for final photos before boarding the plane at Luton, London on Sunday afternoon.

The squad will land in Fort Lauderdale, Florida at 8pm local time where they will spend a week training and take part in two friendly matches — one against Ecuador and the other against Honduras — before the real competition begins.



The England squad led by Roy Hodgson depart from London

"It's going to be a great adventure," Roy said on the runway. "We're all very excited about it." Ahead of their departure, the England squad played a friendly against Peru on Friday, which had Prince William in attendance.

After the match, the Duke of Cambridge, 31, paid a surprise visit to the dressing room to praise the team for their 3-0 win against the South American group.

William chatted away to star players including Frank Lampard, Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard and Daniel Sturridge, some of whom were in the middle of getting changed.

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Prince William chats to Steven Gerrard

William, who is president of the Football Association, also sent his warmest wishes to the team in a pre-recorded video, in which he urged the nation to get behind the England team. The second-in-line to the throne also gave a sweet nod to his ten-month-old son Prince George.

"Having spent some time with the England players after the Peru game at Wembley, I am sure they will be ready for the challenge," said William in the clip. "I wish Roy, his staff and the squad all the very best, starting with their first match against Italy on 14 June."

Prince Harry to attend England game during tour of Brazil

"It is truly a global festival of football and where the great names take their chance to shine," he added. "I am really looking forward to seeing what happens in Brazil this summer.


Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge meet Prince William


"The FA is using the World Cup to get people playing the game and players of all ages and abilities are being encouraged to take part in football matches on Reds v Blues day next weekend.

"I can assure you that George and I will be having a go ourselves with this special red and blue ball, one of thousands being given away by The FA. Whatever your club colours, I am sure we will all be supporting the Three Lions this summer. Good luck England!"

The nation's first match will be against Italy on Sunday 14 June.