England's final World Cup preparations could be hugely under threat after a startling discovery.
As reported by Simon Bird of The Mirror, the Three Lions training base is overlooked by Sugarloaf Mountain, and anyone interested in England's training sessions before and during the fixtures in Brazil will be able to watch or film them from an aerial vantage point.
However, Roy Hodgson has laughed off the issue:
Hodgson laughs off concerns of spies watching #eng train in Rio from top of Sugar Loaf Mountain. Says they'd need good eyes (nb binoculars)— Henry Winter (@henrywinter) March 4, 2014
Nonetheless, it is a strange oversight by the FA. Bird writes:
Football spies could snoop on England’s secret World Cup tactical preparations—from Rio’s most popular tourist spot.
Roy Hodgson has been hit by a security concern over England’s training base at a supposedly secluded military college near Urca, a Rio suburb.
England's Group D opponents Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica will be able to watch Roy Hodgson’s final team workouts from the summit of Sugarloaf Mountain...for the £16 price of a cable car ride.
The final months of the season see a host of players battling for the final places in Hodgson's squad.
Speaking to the press ahead of England's friendly against Denmark, the FA tweeted a video of Adam Lallana's thoughts on the fantastic season he is currently experiencing at Southampton:
Lallana is one of several players unsure if he will be going to Brazil, but if he does get selected, question marks will surround how Hodgson plans to use him. Such questions might very well be answered via the spy spot highlighted in Bird's article.
The fact the FA did not see this issue with the training camp is strange and points toward a lack of thoroughness when choosing a camp in Brazil. It is questionable why they would choose such a venue when it will be so easy for their opponents to film their tactical sessions and specific plans.
Will England qualify from Group D at the World Cup?
England need to make sure their preparation is perfect as there is no guarantee they will get out of this group. It will be a huge challenge for Hodgson and his men, and they will not want to be giving any secrets away.
The Denmark friendly on Wednesday will further enhance the squad's planning process.
Hodgson will likely experiment at Wembley, so World Cup rivals might have to wait until England travel to their World Cup base before they can get true inside knowledge into Hodgson's plans.