Hodgson lobbying for water breaks at World Cup

Roy Hodgson wants FIFA to allow drinks breaks during England's World Cup match in the sweltering heat of Manaus.

England manager Roy Hodgson taking a drink

The England manager's worst fears were confirmed on Friday when his team were drawn to play a match against Italy in Manaus.

Manaus is situated in the north-west of Brazil right in the heart of the Amazon rainforest.

In June and July, when the World Cup takes place, temperatures can soar over 30 degrees centigrade, but the main problem is the humidity levels, which can surpass 80 per cent.

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli plans to lobby FIFA to introduce drinks breaks during the matches.

The England boss pleaded with American authorities to do the same in USA '94 when he was manager of Switzerland and he would like to see the same happen in Brazil next summer.

"The idea of drinks breaks has been mentioned and we'll back that," Hodgson said.

"I mentioned that in 1994 along with the Italians. Any proposals anyone has that are sensible, then we would support. I think it's going to be necessary, I really do.

"We don't want a situation where the fourth official has got to try to stop people taking drinks breaks, so you'd want an official one really.

"I know the Italians intend to bring this up and they'll certainly have our backing."

Prandelli wants to delay the announcement of the World Cup squads by a week as he wants to see if his men are in prime condition ahead of the game in Manaus.

Prandelli said: "The problem is not the rivals, but it is the hot venue. We need to prepare the best physically and arrive with 23 athletes.

"If we arrive physically well prepared we can get a good result."

Prandelli insists he is "not worried" about the prospect of facing England.

Hodgson angered the mayor of Manaus earlier this week when he described the city as "the place to avoid" in the draw as "the tropicality" of the city was "a problem" for European nations.

Manaus mayor Arthur Virgilio said Hodgson and his team were not welcome in the city following the comments, but peace appears to have broken out between the two factions.

"We will welcome England fans to Manaus with warmth, good food and parties," said Leonardo Novellino of the Manaus' mayor's office.

"They can eat good fish with the best herbs. They can go for trips on the Amazon. The weather will be warm. At 9pm the weather will be 21-22c inside the stadium. It will be 30C outside."

Manaus has little football heritage, but organisers wanted to take the tournament to all four corners of the country.

The specially-built Arena Amazonia is expected to be completed in January at the earliest, a few weeks after the supposed deadline of December 31.

Although it is in a remote location, there is a direct flight from Portugal to the city, which should help England fans planning to attend the match.

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