Cahill ready for trip into unknown

12 June 2014 05:31

The trip to Manaus is a journey into the unknown for England, but one which Gary Cahill does not think they could have prepared for any better for.

Roy Hodgson's side touched down in the Amazonian metropolis on Thursday, having jetted in from their base in Rio de Janeiro.

Manaus is 1,000 miles up the River Amazon and the one city Roy Hodgson had hoped to avoid before the draw was made.

Fate, though, had other ideas, pitting England against Italy at the Arena Amazonia in their Group D opener on Saturday.

England have spent time in the Algarve, Miami and Rio in a bid to acclimatise to the expected hot and humid conditions, while the squad have been taking malaria tablets since Tuesday.

Centre-back Cahill has so far avoided an ill-effects from the medication and has been impressed by the amount of preparation that went into the opening game.

"I don't really know what to expect," he said. "I have been told, obviously, about the humidity.

"That was the first thing we were all made aware of, but that's what we've been training for and preparing for in the last couple of weeks. That was the main thing really.

"I think we've prepared the best we possibly we could in the couple of weeks we had.

"We did the hot-weather training, been in hot climates, done the heat chambers, worn extra layers of clothing.

"So we've prepared as best we possibly could. Obviously being English players we're not used to those conditions but in the three weeks that we've had we have done all we possibly can."

England will get their first proper taste of the conditions on Friday, when they train at the 39,118-seater Arena Amazonia.

Hodgson's side had been due to train at the FIFA-allocated training ground after their arrival on Thursday, but instead do work at their hotel following the four-hour flight.

Italy, by contrast, will travel to Manaus on the eve of a match for which they are favourites.

The likes of Andrea Pirlo, Gianluigi Buffon and Mario Balotelli are top-class internationals, as England found out in their Euro 2012 quarter-final defeat.

However, Wayne Rooney has said in the build-up that it is Italy, rather than the Three Lions, that should be fearful given the talent at their disposal.

Asked if he agreed with his team-mate, Cahill said: "I think a lot has changed in the couple of years since we played them [at Euro 2012].

"We are certainly a strong team and we are definitely ready for the game. I can't wait to get started and the preparation has gone fantastically well so we're just ready for the game to come along now."

Cahill was a frustrated onlooker when England took on Italy at Euro 2012, having suffered a double fracture of the jaw in a warm-up match against Belgium.

The centre-back had also been an outside bet for the 2010 World Cup until a blood clot in his upper chest ruled him out, meaning this is his first major tournament with England.

"For me, it's huge, selfishly," Cahill said. "I missed out last time. It's my first major tournament with England, so I can't wait.

"I can't wait to get started. Obviously I am privileged to be part of it and I am just really looking forward to it.

"The blow at the Euros was huge for me at that time, just before we were about to leave for the tournament so hopefully I can be a big part of things this time around.

"I have worked hard since then. I feel confident, I feel like I am in a good place physically.

"I am just looking forward to it now. We've been out here a few weeks now, we've prepared, we've trained well, so we're just ready to get cracking."

Source: PA