England ready for Manaus cauldron, says Hodgson

England's Wayne Rooney, left, and Gary Cahill, center, stretch during a training session at Arena da Amazonia in Manaus, Brazil, Friday, June 13.
Manaus (Brazil), June 14: Roy Hodgson has vowed England are fully prepared for whatever conditions come their way when they confront Italy in their World Cup Group D opener here.

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Despite a 6 p.m. kickoff at the Arena Amazonia, temperatures are expected to be around 30 degrees Celsius with sapping humidity, reports Xinhua.

England have prepared for the match by training in multi-layered clothing and undertaking exercise bike drills in heat chambers.

At his pre-match press conference Friday, England's manager said the rigorous training program had left his players ready for the expected trying conditions.

"I'm not concerned by heat. We are in Brazil and we will play in any conditions that come our way," Hodgson said.

"Whether it is in Manaus or Sao Paulo we will play the game we want to play. Of course we will keep a close eye on players to see if they are flagging towards the end of the game but that's the beauty of being able to make three substitutions and having a good squad to choose from."

England had a light training session on the Arena Amazonia pitch Friday evening after a day of relaxation that included a trip to a local shopping mall.

Manchester United forward Danny Welbeck gave the team a boost by training freely after overcoming a groin injury.

"Danny Welbeck is fit," Hodgson said. "Even after four weeks, the only player not available is Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. No complaints on that score."

The manager said he was unconcerned by reports Italy could field a five-man midfield to stymie the team's attacking instincts.

He stressed England could only focus on their preparations, which so far have gone according to script.

"We are physically fit, mentally fit and tactically prepared," Hodgson said. "That's the most you could ever hope for in any game of football.

"If you said to me after the first half today that the Netherlands would beat Spain 5-1, I would have been tempted to laugh in your face.

"But that happened and that's what football is. They're the factors that we can't possibly discuss or determine. All of the things that we can control have been determined."


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