England arrive at Qatar base with warm greeting from fans ahead of World Cup campaign

England arrive at Qatar base with warm greeting from fans ahead of World Cup campaign

England touched down in Qatar on Tuesday night as they hone in on kicking off their World Cup campaign.

A number of enthusiastic supporters were waiting at the Three Lions’s base after they landed at Doha’s Hamad International Airport at 8pm local time.

Southgate's 26-man squad linked up at St George's Park on Monday fresh from the Premier League pausing and followed a whirlwind day of duties by jetting off to Qatar on Tuesday.

England flew on a plane called 'Rain Bow' - noteworthy given the host country's oppressive laws and treatment of LGBTQ+ people.

The Three Lions received a passionate welcome from several hundred people in Al Wakrah - the coastline city they hope to call home for the next four weeks.

Prince William hands out England’s World Cup shirts to squad

(The FA via Getty Images)
(The FA via Getty Images)
Gareth Southgate (The FA via Getty Images)
Gareth Southgate (The FA via Getty Images)
Jack Grealish (The FA via Getty Images)
Jack Grealish (The FA via Getty Images)
Harry Kane (AP)
Harry Kane (AP)
Jude Bellingham (The FA via Getty Images)
Jude Bellingham (The FA via Getty Images)
Bukayo Saka (The FA via Getty Images)
Bukayo Saka (The FA via Getty Images)
Aaron Ramsdale (The FA via Getty Images)
Aaron Ramsdale (The FA via Getty Images)
Marcus Rashford (The FA via Getty Images)
Marcus Rashford (The FA via Getty Images)
Harry Maguire (The FA via Getty Images)
Harry Maguire (The FA via Getty Images)
Raheem Sterling (The FA via Getty Images)
Raheem Sterling (The FA via Getty Images)
Phil Foden (The FA via Getty Images)
Phil Foden (The FA via Getty Images)

England are staying on the shore of the Arabian Gulf at the five-star Souq Al Wakra Hotel, where fans replete in replica shirts and carrying St George's flags enthusiastically welcomed the team.

‘It's coming home’ and the less familiar ‘Gareth Southgate super coach’ were among the chants from supporters, many of whom were of Indian descent.

The fans strongly rebuffed any suggestion they had been paid by organisers to welcome the team.

“We are not paid,” one fan, who wished to remain anonymous, told PA. “Even if someone offered money to us for loving England we would rather tell them to get lost.”

Excited fans in Qatar greet the England team (PA)
Excited fans in Qatar greet the England team (PA)

Another supporter showed the 'England Fans Qatar' group on WhatsApp, which had 535 members. He said five more similar chats were also running.

Fans said their support for England was born out of their love of the Premier League, citing the likes of former stars Wayne Rooney, David Beckham and John Terry.

The current squad received an excited welcome when they rolled up. A barrier that was erected inside the main fence quickly toppled over as fans rushed to catch a glimpse of their heroes.

Southgate waved at the waiting supporters from the bus and made a point of coming around to thank them for turning out.

England will begin training at nearby Al Wakrah SC Stadium on Wednesday and open Group B against Iran on Monday, before taking on the United States and neighbours Wales.

Additional reporting by PA.