England and Italy will be facing each other this Saturday in their Group D Match at Estadio Amazonia in Manaus. This is not expected to be an easy task for both teams especially The Three Lions.
During their stay in Miami, the English faced Ecuador and drew 2-2. Their last friendly match against Honduras was scoreless for both teams in spite of intense moments from both teams.
While covering England vs Honduras at Sun Life Stadium, I remember hearing English tourists comparing Miami and Manaus. My impression from the conversations was that certain groups were underestimating the humidity in Manaus.
According to Will Mott of ITV, the temperature in Miami during the friendly [June 7, 2014] was 32C or 90F. Manaus at the same time was 30C or 86F which would mean more or less heat and humidity.
I beg to differ since Manaus tends to be above 99% during the summer. It is this environment that Italy can use to its advantage when they face the Three Lions.
Gianlucca Vialli [former striker for the Azzurri and Chelsea] said that Italy has an advantage taking into account its experience in Brazil. He was referencing Italy’s involvement in the 2013 Confederation Cup.
Vialli commented that Gianluigi Buffon, Mario Balotelli, and Andrea Pirlo were better than Joe Hart, Wayne Rooney, and Steven Gerrard when it comes to scoring and saves. The humidity could be used to their advantage in this match.
Roger Espinosa [Honduras’s Defender] echoed the same sentiment by stating that English players were not used to the Miami humidity and much less Manaus. Yet all is not lost as Espinosa and Vialli suggested that England maintain possession of the ball.
If England expects to advance in its match against Italy, possession should be accompanied by an attack and defensive mode. This was witnessed personally during The Three Lions encounter against Honduras with good results.
Oxlade-Chamberlain’s return may help England’s cause in the World Cup. He could reinforce the midfield and remove pressure from Wayne Rooney. Besides possession and attack mode, it would be wise to remain focused and drink lots of sport fluids.
High humidity tends to deplete the body of the electrolytes needed for maintenance. Cool baths and rest in an air conditioned environment may be necessary for the The Three Lions.
In spite of the preventive methods for humidity, England may want to take advantage of any weakness within the Azzurri. Italy defeated Fluminense in its last friendly match but lost to the Republic of Ireland and Luxembourg.
Another weakness is reports that Balotelli is on the receiving end of racist chants while training with Italy. This could hurt Italy since racism is a demoralizing force in any team and England remains a unified force.
Can England prevail against Italy and its Group D opponents? My prediction is that this will be a draw with both teams exhausted but tense.
The Vimeo Video of Roy Hodgson and the English Football Team was filmed by Roberto Alvarez-Galloso during their training session at Barry University in North Miami Beach, Florida on June 6, 2014..