We'll handle the heat - Hodgson

17 February 2014 09:16

Roy Hodgson got a feel for the hot and humid climate of Manaus on Monday as he visited the Brazilian jungle city for the first time.

Hodgson and a delegation including the British ambassador to Brazil enjoyed a tour of the city where England will begin their World Cup campaign against Italy.

The England manager enjoyed a boat ride up the Amazon river and then visited the city's 130-year-old royal opera house before taking a look at the 42,000-capacity Arena Amazonia which will host the Three Lions' Group D opener on June 14.

From now until the World Cup, temperatures can rise above 30 degrees centigrade in Manaus, and its proximity to the Amazon rainforest means humidity levels hit over 95 per cent.

The FA has made extensive preparations to ensure England's players are able to cope with the conditions and, having managed Switzerland in the sweltering heat of USA '94, Hodgson is aware of what lies in store for his squad this June.

"It is hot here, but World Cups are played in the summer," Hodgson told the BBC.

"It was hot in South Africa (for the last World Cup) and it was very hot in America in '94.

"It will be hot here, that is something you have to come to terms with.

"What we are interested in now is getting a feel for the slightly more different tropical climate in the north of Brazil vis-a-vis Rio, where we have been and played."

England will base themselves in the more temperate climes of Rio de Janeiro and their other two group matches will take place in Sao Paulo and Belo Horizonte, which also enjoy more palatable conditions.

Hodgson caused anger prior to the World Cup draw when he said the sticky conditions in Manaus made it "ideally a place to avoid".

Arthur Virgilio Neto said England were not welcome in the city, but an apologetic letter from Hodgson smoothed things over to the point where the mayor was happy to receive the England manager and his delegation on Monday.

"It was a simple misunderstanding," Neto told ITV when asked about his angry reaction to Hodgson's comments.

"We respect England, we respect the English team. Personally, I admire Wayne Rooney a lot."

The Arena Amazonia, like five other World Cup venues, was not ready by the FIFA deadline of December 31.

FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke declared he was happy with the stadium in a visit over the weekend, though, and officials say it is 97 per cent complete.

Speculation is rife that another unfinished stadium - in Curitiba - could be pulled from the World Cup in an announcement on Tuesday, however.

A potential repeat of the violent protests which dogged the Confederations Cup is a concern for organisers, but Hodgson is confident the World Cup will be a success.

"FIFA put a lot of work in with the local organising committee and the Brazilian government has put an awful lot of work in too to make sure that Brazil can have a World Cup, so I don't see any reasons for us technicians to doubt them," the 66-year-old said.

Before heading to Manaus, Hodgson visited Miami, where England will play two friendlies during a pre-World Cup training camp.

The England squad will train at Barry University, which has played host to training sessions of Real Madrid, Spain and Germany in the past.

On Tuesday, Hodgson will visit Florianopolis for a FIFA workshop with the coaches and officials from the other 31 nations who have qualified.

Source: PA