Rio Ferdinand has revealed that the England squad once wept as they feared for their lives on a bumpy flight at the 2006 World Cup.
After England were eliminated from the World Cup by Portugal in a penalty shootout, the England squad will have shed a few tears prior to boarding the flight home.
Any emotion they were feeling before embarking on the journey back to England was apparently amplified by the manner in which events played out on the flight.
Rio Ferdinand told the tale, as quoted by The Sun, “We’d just been knocked out of the competition by Portugal in the quarter-finals and we had the worst flight back you can imagine.”
“We got caught up in some terrible weather and everybody thought we were going to crash. We were all crying.”
“I was sat near Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard and their wives and everyone was screaming. It was turbulence on another level. It was mental and people and luggage were all over the place and no one knew what was going on.”
“I definitely thought, ‘This is it,’ especially when I looked at the air stewardesses. You can always gauge how serious things are by their expressions and I looked at them and they were all sat down in their seats stony faced and clearly thinking, ‘F***, we’re in trouble.’”
“I’m usually quite calm but then I looked at them and I was properly scared.”
It sounds like a harrowing experience, one that the players and their wives could probably have done without. Thankfully, the plane landed safely without any injuries being sustained.
Top-level footballers take so many flights during their professional careers, particularly during international tournaments. By the law of averages, a few of them will have been rather uncomfortable.
The flight that Rio describes sounds nothing short of terrifying…