Sun 25 June 2006

Just a quickie before England's game with Ecuador…

Written by Smart

Apparently its going to be a hot day today in Stuttgart, where England face Ecuador at 5pm local time. Infact heat has played a part in many of Englands recent tournament matches. Against Paraguay 2 weeks ago, games in Portugal (Euro 2004) and Japan (World Cup 2002)… well it is the summer for god sake – what did you expect?

Poor second half performances due to the above have cost England dearly in the past, and will probably continue to do so unless some thinking changes, and my thinking is now this – before a major tournament, don’t play games in England – play and train overseas instead.

Englands warm-up for Germany 2006 was to play Jamaica in ‘sunny’ Manchester, hardly the most appropriate place to acclimatise to stifling heat of the impending summer. In major tournaments we will face the likes of Paraguay, Ecuador, Argentina and Brazil and many many more teams which are used to playing in the heat.

So why not take a month off and play and train in such countries? Why not train in Argentina or Brazil for a month, and play matches there? Too much of a culture shock? Then how about Florida? Or just too far? Well then how about closer to home, such as parts of Africa – Egypt, Tunisia or Morocco for instance. Even Turkey perhaps, even that gets hot enough. Surely places such as those are more appropriate for a summer tournament than Manchester?

Well I’m off to watch the game. I hope England win, but with the predicted temperatures most likely to suit an Ecuadorian than an Englishman abroad, I am expecting a very nervous second half. Again.

And in case you were wondering - the next World Cup is to be held in… South Africa.

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