RECIFE, Brazil (AP) — Italy coach Cesare Prandelli needed little more than 20 minutes of practice inside Arena Pernambuco to reaffirm his belief that FIFA should grant time-outs for players during Friday's Group D match against Costa Rica.
The climate in Recife, a coastal city about 8 degrees latitude south of the equator, "is not normal," Prandelli said. "It can change in 10 minutes."
Prandelli said he had staff monitoring the conditions during practice, adding that during a 20-minute span, conditions went from about 25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahrenheit) with 57 percent humidity to nearly 40 C (104 F) with 70 percent humidity.
The second temperature figure might have been an exaggeration. Various weather reports available online indicated that the high temperature settled at nearly 30 C (86 F).
Still, the Italians aren't bashful when it comes to expressing wariness over the stifling tropical conditions in Brazil. They overcame it against England in the steamy Amazon city of Manaus last weekend, but Costa Rica represents the first Latin American lineup the Azzurri will play, and Prandelli said he expects conditions to favor the Ticos.
"As far as I'm concerned the South American teams have an advantage not just because they live and work and operate under these conditions, but their explosiveness is different from that of European teams," Prandelli said, lumping his Central American opponent in with its counterparts farther south. "Based on the data that we looked at and the matches we analyzed, the Europeans withstand more (defensively) — they're more resistant — but they are less explosive vis-a-vis their South American counterparts."
Prandelli said the Italians knew well in advance they would have to cope with the heat and humidity.
"We're ready. We don't have any more excuses," he said. "The climate doesn't scare us anymore. The squads scare us — the squads that increase their pace during matches.