Fans set to go the distance

By <b>Nigel Slater Friday 13 June 2014 Updated: 13/06 09:21

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Buy photos » Birmingham City fans Michael Gardner and Peter Courts are on the trip of a lifetime watching England at the World Cup in Brazil. (s)

A PAIR of diehard borough football fans are set for World Cup fever after making the long trip to Brazil to cheer on England in this summer’s tournament.

Peter Courts and Michael Gardner - members of Redditch based Birmingham City supporters group Redditch Blues - jetted off on a 19-hour flight yesterday (Thursday) for their first ever World Cup extravaganza.

The pair have followed the highs and lows of Birmingham City for many years and will be taking their ‘Redditch Blues’ flag to England’s group games and possibly more should Roy Hodgson’s men reach the knockout stages.

Peter and Michael will be stopping at Manuas for five days after which they will be based in Rio travelling to the England games by coach.

The World Cup started last night when hosts Brazil met Croatia in Sao Paulo - the first of 64 matches between now and Sunday, July 13.

England kick-off their campaign tomorrow (Saturday) against Italy at Manaus before facing Uruguay and Costa Rica in coming weeks. Should they reach the top two positions of Group D they will advance to the last 16 stage.

Peter and Michael, who are from Oakenshaw South and Matchborough respectively, got the once in a lifetime tickets through being members of the England Supporters Club and have watched several of England’s home matches at Wembley Stadium and abroad.

“It’s going to be a great experience, we can’t wait,” Peter told the Standard. “With it being in Brazil it will be a carnival atmosphere all the way through.

“Going to a World Cup is something we’ve always wanted to, it’s a massive coup for us.

“The way things are going i can’t imagine Birmingham City competing in Europe in years to come so we decided to get tickets to see the World Cup in Brazil.

“I think we will do better than what others think. I think we will get through the group stage and hopefully the round afterwards to make the quarter-finals. I think that will be a great achievement.”

The Redditch Blues group meet on Monday evenings between 8pm and 10pm at The Oast House in Church Hill. Visit www.redditchblues.co.uk for more information.

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