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US/Portugal game could see heat index tease 100; More Manaus criticism

Jun 19, 2014, 9:12 AM EDT

manaus AP

Criticism of Manaus as a venue for the 2014 World Cup is heating up again, due mostly to the relatively-horrible conditions being experienced by players.

This is what happens when you put a stadium in the rainforest, and now it’s set to hit the players of United States and Portugal.

The heat index for the game is set to hit 99 or more when the two nations play their pivotal second match of the tournament on Sunday.

From Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel:

Sunday’s game will be in the city of Manaus, which is in the remote heart of the Amazon rain forest, just 214 miles south of the equator. It promises playing conditions that will exceed even the difficulties of Natal and has coaches, players and the international soccer union screaming about the potential risk to the athletes after the opening game there between Italy and England drew universal condemnation.

“At times it felt like [I was] having hallucinations due to the heat,” Italian star Claudio Marchisio said after defeating England 2-1.

Criticism of staging four World Cup games in Manaus is not new. Few understood why Brazil would make the distant city of nearly two million a host site when it lacked a stadium and reasonable infrastructure. Being reachable only by plane or riverboat, it is a challenging and expensive place for fans to visit.

FIFPro, the international players union, is basically begging for cooling breaks during matches in Manaus. FIFA currently only allows such stoppages if the temperature rises about 90 degrees, ignorant of factors such as humidity, shade and time of day.

Italy’s coach called the conditions for his nation’s 2-1 win over England “ridiculous”, and Jurgen Klinsmann’s crew is set to experience them in a few days time. A game of such import is set to be played in a thick stew, and it’s a sticky situation.

  1. bigdinla - Jun 19, 2014 at 11:18 AM

    The USMNT should have prepped in lower Alabama. Pretty much exact same environment.

  2. tridecagon - Jun 19, 2014 at 11:19 AM

    That game looked terrible in the second half. You could just see the players wilting in the heat. Might as well have teams play two games in the same day.

    Hopefully Portugal wilts faster than we do, but given the fitness issues we saw against Ghana, I’m more than a bit concerned.

    • sjsharks86 - Jun 19, 2014 at 11:58 AM

      Natal is another tough place to play, which contributed to the “fitness issues” you saw

  3. mogogo1 - Jun 19, 2014 at 11:48 AM

    If I were a player I wouldn’t hold my breath regarding any extra breaks given FIFA is the same group of guys who decided Qatar was a good spot for the World Cup.

  4. granadafan - Jun 19, 2014 at 12:18 PM

    I don’t know why Klinsmann decided to train in Palo Alto, California. The weather is perfect with no humidity. They should have trained in Colorado and then Florida.

  5. nhstateline - Jun 19, 2014 at 12:45 PM

    why would they put this here ? Same reason why Manaus is always propped up by the Brazilian Government, it helps to cement their claim on the Amazon region and tie to Brazil.

  6. lyleoross - Jun 19, 2014 at 3:45 PM

    If Ronaldo really is hurt, then this will kill him. If he plays with the injury he has, as described, he will really regret the decision. Without him, we should have a very good chance. It’s going to be very interesting.

  7. jimeejohnson - Jun 19, 2014 at 8:48 PM

    The heat index is a better measure of how it feels outside in the shade; it’s going to feel a lot hotter than 99 in the sun. I’d say soccer players are some of the best conditioned athletes in the world, but this will be a brutal test of who can stand the conditions better. Can’t wait to see this game.

  8. bobhpine - Jun 20, 2014 at 8:34 AM

    USMNT ought to play for a draw in the first half, make the Portuguese run and run and run. Then pack it in and play tight in the second half once the Portuguese start to wilt. We’re used to humidity, Portugal is dry. This should play to our advantage…assuming the rest of the team is more fit than Altidore.

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