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The day England players thought they’d die on a plane

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Just when World Cup quarter-final defeat to Portugal in 2006 seemed a tragedy to the England squad, things could have been so much worse.

Defender Rio Ferdinand has recalled how terrific turbulence on the flight home from Germany left players fearing for their lives.

“We’d just been knocked out of the competition by Portugal in the quarter finals and we had the worst flight back you can imagine,” Ferdinand told The Sun.

“We got caught up in some terrible weather and everybody thought we were going to crash. We were all crying.

“I was sat near Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard and their wives and everyone was screaming. It was turbulence on another level. It was mental and people and luggage were all over the place and no one knew what was going on.

“I definitely thought, ‘This is it,’ especially when I looked at the air stewardesses. You can always gauge how serious things are by their expressions and I looked at them and they were all sat down in their seats stony faced and clearly thinking, ‘F***, we’re in trouble’.

Lampard, Terry and Beckham

I’m usually quite calm but then I looked at them and I was properly scared.”

Fortunately, the plane, including stars like David Beckham and Frank Lampard, as well as those named by Ferdinand, made it to London safely.

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