Ahead of England’s first game of Euro 2012, Roy Hodgson has spoken of his confidence that his team can cope with the conditions in Ukraine.
Those looking to bet in play football this summer will note that tt has been extremely hot and humid for England in training – something they are certainly not used to – but Hodgson is convinced that it won’t be too much of a problem.
The Three Lions boss said: “It will be the same for both teams and it’s very important that we don’t put too much emphasis on it.”
“It does get hot in England from time to time and the heat is a factor for all the teams that will play here in the Ukraine. In the earlier game it plays a slightly bigger role.”
“I have good staff that will be doing everything to rehydrate the players.”
“Of course temperatures are always a concern but it is a concern in every major tournament. I would be very surprised if it gets anything like it was in the World Cup in America with Switzerland in 1994.”
“For our first game in the Silverdome (in Michigan) it was 34-35 degrees outside. Inside, where the humidity was 91%, the temperatures were supposed to be 41 degrees.”
“Then we went to Stanford and played around lunchtime with the sun high above us. The temperature was registering 38C and the sun was beating down. I would be very surprised if it was as hot as that.”
England captain Steven Gerrard then took a similar stance to his manager, brushing off questions about the heat, saying his team simply have to get on with the job in hand.
The Liverpool midfielder said: “Yeah, it’s hot but it’s hot for both teams. We won’t use the heat and the conditions as an excuse.”
This is the right approach from Gerrard and Hodgson of course. Had they admitted the heat was a concern, there is a chance the players would dwell on it if they had a poor spell in the France game.
In a contest that is set to be extremely close, they simply can’t afford to do that. France are the favourites for a reason and England can’t give them any further advantage.
Elsewhere in the England camp, it has been suggested that Stewart Downing and James Milner will start on the flanks, something many will be surprised with.
Hodgson will stick to his guns though and for the sake of England’s chances of progression to the knockout stages, everyone will be hoping it works.