Butch is still at the back on BA Tatchell held for Chech­nya demo On tar­get to end shoot-out curse

Daily Mirror (Northern Ireland) - - NEWS -

not just the most beau­ti­ful sport – peo­ple here truly love it.”

Se­cu­rity was the tight­est yet at a World Cup match and fans went through air­port-style checks – in­clud­ing metal de­tec­tors and body searches – to get into the sta­dium.

Deputy Emer­gen­cies Min­is­ter Vladlen Aksy­onov said sup­port­ers are be­ing guarded by 40,000 po­lice and mil­i­tary per­son­nel and 4,400 re­sponse ve­hi­cles in Rus­sia’s big­gest se­cu­rity op­er­a­tion in mod­ern times.

And thanks to the huge ef­fort, the open­ing was trou­ble-free. World Cup se­cu­rity chief Alexei Lavr­ishchev said: “The se­cu­rity mea­sures we are tak­ing are un­prece­dented.

“They are based on our own ex­pe­ri­ence of pro­vid­ing se­cu­rity for such events, plus in­ter­na­tional ex­pe­ri­ence.

“There are mea­sures in place to en­sure fans, tourists and Rus­sian ci­ti­zens will feel com­fort­able and safe.”

Pres­i­dent Putin watched the tour­na­ment spark into life with a goal for his na­tion against Saudi Ara­bia in the first 15 min­utes, then a sec­ond be­fore half-time. Three more in the sec­ond half left Rus­sia fans ec­static as their play­ers con­founded low ex­pec­ta­tions.

In the build-up to the match, one Rus­sian com­men­ta­tor had called the side – which had not won in its pre­vi­ous seven matches, los­ing six of them – their “worst ever”.

But there was a car­ni­val at­mos­phere inside and out­side the sta­dium be­fore and af­ter the game.

Fans from dozens of coun­tries, many wear­ing na­tional dress, sang and posed for pho­tos to­gether – although no sup­port­ers from Eng­land were seen.

Rus­sia re­mains on alert and large-scale drills were held last month amid ter­ror fears.

Tour­na­ment venue Vol­gograd is in the sights of Is­lamic State be­cause it is close to the North Cau­ca­sus re­gion, which sup­plied more than 3,500 fight­ers for the regime in Iraq and Syria. IS mil­i­tants is­sued chill­ing threats, which in­clude im­ages of a slain Vladimir Putin and Ar­gen­tine player Lionel Messi and Por­tu­gal’s Cris­tiano Ron­aldo be­ing be­headed. They came af­ter IS claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity for an at­tack in Nizhny Nov­gorod ear­lier this year, where Eng­land play Panama on June 24. Mean­while, US pop star Ja­son Derulo, 28, missed the cer­e­mony, de­spite promis­ing to sing the of­fi­cial tour­na­ment song. Of­fi­cials said his con­nect­ing flight to Moscow was de­layed, leav­ing him stranded. At the Three Lions base in Repino, Eng­land stars spent the day re­lax­ing and many watched the match. Oth­ers – in­clud­ing Jesse Lin­gard, 25, Trent Alexan­derarnold, 19, and Gary Cahill, 32 – went bowl­ing and played darts with mem­bers of the me­dia. TV PRE­SEN­TER Gary Lineker flew busi­ness class to Moscow – while his fel­low Beeb pun­dit Terry Butcher was in econ­omy on the same flight.

The ex-eng­land team-mates were on Tues­day morn­ing’s BA ser­vice. Prices quoted yes­ter­day put busi­ness at £3,664 and econ­omy at £1,224.

A BBC spokesper­son said: “Travel ar­range­ments are agreed as part of over­all con­tract ne­go­ti­a­tions.” CAM­PAIGNER Peter Tatchell was de­tained in Moscow yes­ter­day.

The 66-year-old tried to stage a solo protest near Red Square to high­light hu­man rights abuses with a sign read­ing: “Putin fails to act against Chech­nya tor­ture of gay peo­ple.”

He was held for al­most two hours and bailed to ap­pear in court on June 26 but he was told he “will be free to leave” Rus­sia as planned on June 18. ENG­LAND are us­ing a spe­cial train­ing goal as they aim to break their World Cup penalty shoot-out hoodoo.

The four cor­ners are marked with semi-cir­cles for “pre­ci­sion” shoot­ing.

It will be used by Harry Kane, his strike part­ners, free kick spe­cial­ists and any likely penalty tak­ers.

Eng­land lost on penal­ties dur­ing the 1990, 1998 and 2006 World Cups and the Eu­ros in 1996, 2004 and 2012.

SCORE DRAW Favourite Rob­bie belts out his hits yes­ter­day RUDE BOY Ges­ture in Rock DJ TOP SQUAD With Gar­i­ful­lina and Ron­aldo CLASS DI­VIDE Butcher and Lineker AR­RESTED Brit ac­tivist Peter Tatchell

HE SHOOTS Cahill en­joys game of darts HAV­ING A BALL Lin­gard goes bowl­ing

PRACTISE Coach Steve Holland & goal

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