While European teams worry they could wilt in the hot Brazilian sun, certain members of the U.S. men’s national team believe the heat could be an advantage as Jurgen Klinsmann & Co. prepare for their World Cup opener against Ghana in Natal on Monday.
"When you talk about playing in the heat, the travel, it doesn't bother us," midfielder Michael Bradley says. "And not only does it not bother us, it excites us to see that now the other teams are so worried about it." Adds defender Geoff Cameron: "I lived 4 1/2 years in Houston, and that's 100 degrees every single day with humidity plus, so if you can survive that, you can survive anything."
European coaches sound less convinced of success in such harsh conditions. In December, prior to the World Cup draw, England coach Roy Hodgson described the Amazon rain forest city of Manaus as "problematic" and said "you have a better chance if you get one of the venues where the climate is kinder." Ironically, England’s opening game against Italy is in Manaus.
More recently, Germany coach Joachim Low, whose team faces three uncomfortable trips to Salvador, Fortaleza and Recife for its Group G matches, noted: "It's going to be incredibly humid and hot. We must get used to it, in training and preparing."