RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — English football players can deal with the weather if it's wet and bleak, or cold and grim. But the heat and humidity is a different story, seen almost as a hostile environment.
Hot and sticky will be the conditions Saturday when England faces Italy in the steamy Amazon jungle port of Manaus, where the humidity averages 80 percent year around. A local adage says there are two seasons: summer and hell.
England has fretted about playing in Manaus since the World Cup draw six months ago.
"Obviously being English players, we're not used to those conditions," defender Gary Cahill said.
England's done what it can to prepare. There was a training camp last month in Portugal, friendly matches last week in Miami, and a base camp in sub-tropical Rio de Janeiro with three days of practice in the sun.
Players have been taking malaria pills and sweating — mostly over conditions in the jungle.
"We've done the hot-weather training," Cahill said. "We've been in hot climates, we've done the heat chambers, and we've done extra loads of clothing. We've prepared as best we possibly can."
Forward Wayne Rooney was asked by Brazilian reporters why he was training in a long-sleeve shirt, expecting a weather-related answer.
"No, it's something I've always done," he said. "But we're expecting it's going to be hot, obviously. It's going to be humid."
Continue reading this story on the...