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Reality check for England with Rio favela visit

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 9, 2014 at 5:36 pm •  Published: June 9, 2014
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RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Dancing in the shadow of Brazil's largest favela, England players had a glimpse of the other side of life in Rio de Janeiro during their first full day at the World Cup on Monday.

At the foot of the sprawling Rocinha slum, Danny Welbeck joined in the capoeira, a Brazilian martial arts dance that incorporates singing and playing traditional instruments being demonstrated by local children.

Had coach Roy Hodgson been on the artificial pitch there would have been a few anxious moments as the striker fully embraced the capoeira's acrobatic elements.

But Welbeck emerged unscathed from the visit that is as much about players escaping the confines of their hotel after training as it is about mixing with locals and experiencing the culture.

"It's humbling to see that backdrop and something you take note of," Welbeck said at a sports center beneath the steep hill where more than 70,000 people live.

Rocinha looms in the distance from the balconies at England's beachside hotel in Rio, and the players have donated what the Football Association described as a five-figure sum in pounds to the favela's sports complex.

"It is nice to see the different side of Brazil," midfielder Adam Lallana said after dancing with the children. "We are based on the beach where we only see the lovely waves and the sea. To come out to the favela and the hills seems a different side of it, you get the experience of Brazil as a whole."

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