Rio Ferdinand recalls horror World Cup flight he thought would wipe England squad out

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England's history at the World Cup since the turn of the millennium has been, to put it mildly, underwhelming.

There have been encouraging signs of late, but the performance of the so called 'Golden Generation' in 2002, 2006 and 2010 was incredibly disappointing.

The loss to Brazil in 2002 was perhaps the least jarring, considering the opposition, but it's safe to say that England's heroes haven't had many happy home journeys from World Cup finals.

However, regardless of the underwhelming on-field performances, no return flight from a tournament can match what happened to the Three Lions after they were dumped out of the 2006 showpiece.

Defensive icon Rio Ferdinand recently opened up on what sounds like an absolute horror flight as the team made their way home from Germany.

Having fallen afoul of the dreaded lottery that is the penalty shootout, England boarded a flight home as they prepared themselves to face the music that awaited them on touchdown in London.

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According to Rio, the media storm awaiting them quickly became the least of their worries.

“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," he began, per a report in The Sun.

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

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“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.’

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

Absolutely terrifying.

Thankfully, the flight pulled through and the team, along with their families, touched-down safely in England.

You can imagine that a few not-so-subtle jibes from the English media about their performance in Germany held much less bite than they might have after that horror experience in the skies.

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