Despite England captain Harry Kane scoring twice to beat Tunisia in their first World Cup group game, the team were plagued by midges at Volgograd Arena in Russia.
During the match the players could be seen attempting to bat the bugs away on Monday and applying spray to their arms and faces to repel the insects.
Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling and Jesse Lingard were disturbed by the insects during the game and players were instructed by the FA to apply high strength insect repellant before the match started.
After the 2-1 win, Kane said: “There were a lot more than we thought. We had a lot of bug spray on, before the game, and at half-time.
“I got some in the eye, nose and some in my mouth.”
Fans were not allowed to bring insect repellant into the Volgograd Arena because liquids were confiscated ahed of them entering the stadium.
Insecticide has been sprayed over the stadium using helicopters to try to fight the mosquitoes and nearby marshland has also been sprayed.
Organisers said the flies are a “typical phenomenon for Volgograd in June due to the Local climate” and claim the “insignificant amount of flying insects will not disrupt any of the scheduled events in Volgograd.”
Sky Sports News had to abandon a series of live interviews after presenter Kaveh Solhekol was attacked by a swarm of bugs at the England team hotel on Sunday evening.
Solhekol tweeted: “Just had to abort going live on Sky Sports News with seconds to spare because of invasion of flies outside England team hotel. Big problem here.”
The Arctic mosquitoes thrive in Volgograd – located in south-west Russia – due to the city’s proximity to the River Volga and its warmer climate.
The blood-sucking insects descended on the Hilton Garden Hotel in the city centre as the England team arrived at their temporary accommodation on Sunday evening.
Researcher Lauren Culler told National Geographic: “There aren’t a lot of animals for them to eat in the Arctic, so when they finally find one, they are ferocious.
“They are relentless. They do not stop. They just keep going after you.”
England’s World Cup victory over Tunisia was the most-watched TV programme of 2018 so far.
An average audience of 13.7 million saw the team open their World Cup campaign with a 2-1 win, thanks to a pair of goals from captain Harry Kane.
Ratings peaked at 18.3 million during the closing minutes, when more than two-thirds (69%) of all UK TV viewers were tuned to the match.
The game’s average audience – 13.7 million – could well be revised upwards when the full ratings are published next week, which will include those who recorded the match and watched up to seven days later.
Some of the largest audiences in UK television history have been for England World Cup games.
England’s second group match against Panama is on BBC One on Sunday June 24. Coverage starts at 12.10pm, with kick-off at 1pm.
Source : EXPRESS