Brothers from Bury St Edmunds split up for England game after passport stolen in holiday tragedy
PUBLISHED: 14:14 11 July 2018 | UPDATED: 18:57 11 July 2018
For two brothers from Bury St Edmunds, this year's World Cup has been a tale of euphoria and heartbreak.
Peter and John Rogers, who grew up in the town where their father served as vicar of St Mary’s and St Peter’s Church, were both delighted to learn in February that they had scored tickets for the World Cup semi-final in their family’s new home city of Moscow.
In an thrilling turn of events, the boys watched as England navigated their way through the group stage, defied the odds by winning on penalties in their knockout match against Colombia, and stumped Sweden in the quarter finals to reach the final four in the tournament for the first time in 28 years.
However tragedy struck just one week before the biggest England football tie of the century, when John, 20, had his passport stolen on a bus while on holiday in Peru.
“I was on an overnight bus from Cusco to the Bolivian border,” he said. “I woke up at 7am and my bag was gone.”
John lost his passport, camera and wallet – and was forced to apply for an emergency travel document to get him home.
As he was unable to order a new passport and Russian Visa in time for his trip scheduled the following week, John missed his flight to Moscow and will have to watch the game with the rest of the homebound fans in the UK.
“I am disappointed,” he said. “But I like to think that they wouldn’t have got there if I hadn’t lost my passport.
“I have got some good plans here – I am going to try and watch it in a big fan space. I am supporting England, but it is bittersweet.”
Meanwhile, his brother Peter, 21, is flying the English flag on the streets of the Russian capital – where he will take his seat tomorrow to watch Harry Kane and his team battle it out for a place in Sunday’s final.
He said: “I can’t quite believe how lucky I am to get to watch England in their third ever World Cup semi final. We got the tickets ages ago and I wouldn’t in a million years have guessed that it would be England we were seeing.
“Obviously we’re gutted John can’t make it, it would’ve been a lovely family occasion so it’s such a shame he won’t be there. Despite that it shouldn’t dampen our mood, and we’ll be shouting our voices hoarse in support of Gareth and the boys.
“I actually think they might do it, Croatia have had two really tough matches and looked leggy against Russia. It’s coming home!”
The Rogers won tickets in the second round of the Russian residents’ ballot after relocating to the capital last summer, where the Rev Canon Malcolm Rogers now works as the chaplain of St Andrew’s Anglican Church.