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.
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.