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Saudis want hot weather to return

Written by: Staff
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HAMBURG, June 16 (Reuters) Saudia Arabia coach Marcos Paqueta said today rain and falling temperatures in Hamburg could be as damaging for his team as stifling heat was for Ukraine when they were thrashed in their opening match by Spain.

Saudia Arabia came to Hamburg early for training in the cooler weather before Monday's Group H match against Ukraine.

They were greeted with showers before their evening training session that sent temperatures falling to 15 Celsius (59 Fahrenheit) from 25 C yesterday.

''I like the rain but I don't want to play in the rain,'' said Paqueta. ''Like higher temperatures for Ukraine, playing in rain is very dangerous for us. I need the sun to come out for us.'' With temperatures in Saudi Arabia now well above 40 C, the players bundled up in layers of sweat shirts, jackets, long trousers and even ski caps for training on Friday.

Paqueta said he was optimistic about his team's chance of reaching the knockout round after their 2-2 draw against Tunisia in their opening match.

''God willing,'' he said when asked if he thought they could get through the group. Spain, who beat Ukraine 4-0 on a boiling day in Leipzig, lead the group with three points.

Paqueta also denied reports in some media that he had called Ukraine a ''weak'' team at a news conference after the Spain loss.

''Who? Weak? Ukraine? No!'' Paqueta said in English when asked about the reported comments. ''I did not say that! I did not say that! That's not true...It's crazy. It's wrong.'' He added: ''I said it was a 'unique' game, a difficult game for Ukraine because they were down two goals after 15 minutes.

REUTERS DH RAI0148

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