Kick-off changed for rumble in the jungle
Broadcasters win out for England and Italy clash in the Amazon, writes Paul Hirst
FIFA has bowed to pressure from broadcasters by moving forward the kick-off time for England's rumble in the jungle with Italy.
England were due to play Italy at 9.0pm local time in Manaus on June 14, but FIFA brought kick-off forward three hours due to pressure from broadcasters.
ITV and Rai were concerned about viewing figures as the timing of the kick-off would have been 2.0am in the UK and 3.0am in Italy.
After the draw, Roy Hodgson said he was "happy" with the kick-off being at 9.0pm. The England boss added: "Our views will be taken into account."
But FIFA has gone against his wishes. The England manager was said to be "relaxed" about FIFA's move. "Roy is aware, we are very relaxed about it and will continue to make the necessary preparations," said Adrian Bevington, managing director of Club England.
FIFA said a 6.0pm kick-off shares "similar conditions" to a 9.0pm one, and they are more or less right.
"There shouldn't be a great deal of difference between 9.0pm and 6.0pm," said Ben Windsor of MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association.
"Sunset will always be close to 6pm, so they'll be playing under floodlit conditions either way.
"Temperatures will be slightly cooler – around three to five degrees – at 9.0pm, but not by much as it tends to stay fairly hot and sticky throughout the night in tropical regions."
The kick-off times for England's other two games against Uruguay and Costa Rica have not changed.
England fans have been told to be on their guard during their trip to Manaus, which is located right in the middle of the Amazon rainforest.
"It's possible to meet alligators at night," a pamphlet from Manaus' tourist board says.
Poisonous snakes, spiders and exotic birds are also common in the jungle, where humidity levels soar beyond 80 per cent and temperatures usually hit around 29 degrees centigrade.
The Football Supporters' Federation said there had been a "mixed" reaction among England fans to the news that the team would be playing in Manaus.
Some fans, it said, had been put off by the idea of trekking to the jungle, but others were relishing the prospect of experiencing true Amazonian culture despite the heat.
Manaus' sports minister Fabricio Lima insists the humidity will not be a problem, however.
"For the supporters and for the English team the only warmth they will feel is from the people of Manaus and that is all that counts," he said with a smile.
Croatia take on Cameroon in Manaus and Switzerland also face Honduras in the city's specially-built 44,000-seater stadium called the Arena da Amazonia.
Mosquitos will be the biggest problem for England fans when they travel to Manaus. Visitors run the risk of contracting malaria if they do not take the right medication before they travel. The UK Department of Health advises travellers to Manaus to take one of a wide range of drugs the week before they travel.
Those include Chloroquine, Proguanil and Doxycycline as some of malaria tablets available.
Visitors have to continue taking the drugs for up to four weeks after they leave the Amazon. Fans must also make sure they have good quality mosquito nets, the UK Department of Health said on their website.
There are no direct flights from the UK to Manaus. The best route is to go via Portugal. The cheapest flights currently stand at around £750. The most expensive ones can cost over £5,000.