England must take the heat
Rio de Janeiro - England coach Roy Hodgson said on Monday his side would have to rise above the Soccer World Cup heat when they tackle Italy in the Amazonian heat of Manaus n June 14.
Hodgson was pilloried in the Brazilian media and by Manaus politicians when he suggested before last December's World Cup draw that the city was the venue he wanted to avoid.
Since then, the former Inter Milan, Liverpool, Fulham and Switzerland coach has managed to rebuild diplomatic bridges, penning a letter to mayor Arthur Virgilio stressing the trip will be a "highlight" for Team England.
Having poured soothing ointment on troubled diplomatic waters Hodgson said England now had to ensure their World Cup campaign gets off to a solid start, heat or no heat.
Even in a nominal Brazilian winter, humidity in the Amazonian region can hit 95 percent and temperatures rise above 30 Celsius (86 Fahrenheit) but Hodgson noted the problem was the same for both teams.
"It is hot here, but World Cups are played in the summer. It was hot (in 2010) in South Africa and it was very hot in America in '94," he reflected, having been coach of Switzerland at USA '94.
But "that is something you have to come to terms with," Hodgson told the BBC after a trip up the River Amazon and a visit to the Amazonas Arena.
England have chosen Rio de Janeiro as their team base in Brazil, providing easy access to their other pool matches against Copa America champions Uruguay in Sao Paulo and Costa Rica at Belo Horizonte.
On Tuesday, Hodgson heads south to the city of Florianopolis for a FIFA workshop with fellow coaches on facilities and tournament logistics.
Later Monday, British Foreign Secretary William Hague was due to open a two-day visit to Brazil by also heading for Manaus to visit the Amazonas Arena before heading for Brasilia for talks with Brazil counterpart Luiz Alberto Figueiredo.
"There is huge scope for Britain and Brazil to continue to cooperate on the World Cup and in the lead up to the 2016 Olympic Games, capitalizing on the legacy London 2012 has provided," a British Embassy statement read.
In Brasilia, Hague was to address international security, human rights, cyber and internet governance and trade, including progress on a proposed EU-Mercosur free trade agreement.