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“England won’t melt in Manaus” says LSBU Sport & Exercise Scientist

13 June 2014
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Claims by Paolo Di Canio that England will struggle in the Brazilian heat in the first game of their FIFA World Cup campaign may not be the case according to an LSBU scientist

Roy Hodgson's men take on Italy at the Arena Amazonia in Manaus on 15 June, in what is set to be one of the most tropical of climates for the tournament. Di Canio has claimed the England squad will not be physically able to cope to the Amazonian heat as much as their Italian opponents.

However, LSBU's Steven Hunter—a Senior Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Science who specialises in performance analysis of athletes—has countered the Italian's claim.

Steve said: "The team has been acclimatising to the heat and the humidity over a number of days in Portugal, Miami and Rio. The body has adaptive capabilities to environmental challenge. Not only are well-trained athletes already partially able to tolerate heat due to their trained status, training and playing in an environment the same or similar as that in which the competition will take place will further acclimatize them.

"The process takes between 4 to 10 days according to research studies. The main problem in any hot, and particularly in a hot humid climate is remaining properly hydrated. Humidity accelerates fluid loss through profuse and obvious sweating. However, this sweat response also makes players aware of the need to replace lost fluids.

"The England football team have a group of highly professional sports scientists with them who will, amongst other strategies, have been closely monitoring the hydration status of each of the players and they will know what they need to do to maintain player hydration and optimise performance for the duration of the game—and the tournament.

"A good strategy for England if they can will be to reduce work rate and the extent of sweat rate by maintaining possession and making the opposition work to chase the ball down—this will put increase the work rate of the opposition and place them at more risk of dehydration and fatigue."

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