Italy seeking water breaks at World Cup next summer

Players could be subjected to punishing conditions at some venues in Brazil

The Arena Fonte Nova stadium, in Salvador, on of the 12 venues that will host matches next summer.

The Arena Fonte Nova stadium, in Salvador, on of the 12 venues that will host matches next summer.


Italy coach Cesare Prandelli has called for the introduction of drink breaks during next year’s World Cup finals in Brazil to counter the debilitating effects of heat and humidity at venues in the tropical northeast.

“You can’t even give players water because Fifa want the bottles near the goalposts, which can only be of use when there are corner kicks,” he told reporters in Rome.

“You are risking a situation where teams will kick the ball out for a corner just to drink something,” he said. “It sounds like a joke but in fact it is really serious. We will make this request in the next two days.”

Fifa has already rejected calls to reconsider its decision to schedule noon kick-offs for some matches in tropical venues.

However, there remains widespread concern that teams playing in the northeastern cities of Fortaleza, Natal, Salvador and Recife will be subjected to punishing conditions, with temperatures soaring above 30 degrees Celsius.

England, meanwhile, will be among an unseeded pot of European countries for Friday’s draw for the finals in Brazil, it was confirmed yesterday.

Fifa announced the procedure of the draw and, as expected, the eight seeded teams who will be kept apart for the group stage have been chosen according to October’s world rankings.

The draw will be organised so that there will be no more than two European teams in any group of four countries, and all the South American teams will be kept apart.

It means England will have to face one of the top seeds — hosts Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Uruguay, Spain, Germany, Belgium and Switzerland — who are in Pot One.

The countries in Pot Two are the unseeded South American countries and the qualifiers from Africa: Algeria, Cameroon, Chile, Ivory Coast, Ecuador, Ghana and Nigeria.

Pot Three is made up of the teams from Asia and and north and central America: Australia, Costa Rica, Honduras, Iran, Japan, South Korea, Mexico and United States.

In Pot Four there are nine unseeded European teams: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, England, France, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal and Russia.

In order to make the number in each pot equal, at the start of the draw one of the nine European teams will be drawn into Pot Two, and will definitely face one of the seeded South American sides.

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