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.
From Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel:
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.
Despite sitting at the top of the table in the Premier League, things are not going well for Manchester City.
Star striker and leading goalscorer Sergio Aguero suffered a torn hamstring while playing for Argentina, and now he is joined by David Silva on the injured list.
Silva lasted nine minutes in Spain’s EURO qualifying match against Luxembourg, forced off after taking a bad challenge from behind. Silva went down in pain and tried to play on, but asked for a substitution just minutes later.
[ RELATED: Alejandro Bedoya to miss USMNT vs. Mexico ]
Spanish news outlet AS is reporting that Silva has suffered “lateral internal ligament damage in his right ankle,” and could face 2-3 weeks on the sidelines.
With Aguero set to miss at least a month, Silva’s injury could leave Manchester City without two of their top players in the coming weeks.
Silva has arguably been the best player in the Premier League this season, the quarterback of the City attack, which has scored a league-leading 19 goals through eight matches.
City travels to Old Trafford for the Manchester derby on October 25, which falls into that 2-3 week range for Silva’s recovery. In a match that could decide who sits top of the table, Manuel Pellegrini would be very shorthanded without Silva and Aguero.
Alejandro Bedoya will not feature for the United States in the CONCACAF playoff against Mexico on Saturday, and has been replaced on the roster by Bobby Wood.
Bedoya traveled to Los Angeles from his club team Nantes in France, but Jurgen Klinsmann has announced he will be unable to play after falling ill.
[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s USMNT coverage ]
Without Bedoya, Union Berlin midfielder Bobby Wood has been added to the USMNT side. Wood scored the first two goals of his international career this summer in wins over the Netherlands and Germany, and has scored four goals in ten matches for Union Berlin this season. Wood has been training with the U.S. camp throughout the week for the upcoming friendly against Costa Rica.
Bedoya has played well for the USMNT, discounting his short performance against Brazil in September. In that match, Klinsmann played Bedoya out of position against a potent Brazil attack, and he was substituted before halftime. However, playing in his more natural role as a winger or attacking midfielder, many believed Bedoya could be in line for a start against Mexico.