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Italy were in better shape than England - Prandelli

ESPN staff
June 15, 2014 « Hodgson defends under-fire Rooney | WILL TEST Rashid's burst takes Yorkshire top »

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli claims his players coped better than England with the hot and humid conditions after they emerged with a 2-1 victory in their opening Group D game in Manaus on Saturday night.

Raheem Sterling, Daniel Sturridge and Gary Cahill all suffered cramp for England as they failed to cope with temperatures of around 27 degrees centigrade and humidity at 74% in the Amazonian city. Sterling even needed assistance from Italy's Giorgio Chiellini and Claudio Marchisio after the Liverpool winger clutched his hamstring in the second half.

"England finished the match with six or seven players that were suffering with cramp," Prandelli said. "Our players weren't as effected. The team suffered, but we maintained the supremacy in the middle of the field. We worked well in training and it showed. It means our work paid off.

"We worked very hard at [the Italian national training centre] Coverciano and you could see the difference it made."

Italy may have coped better with the conditions as a result of having played in the Confederations Cup - which was also held in Brazil - 12 months ago, as England's apparently meticulous preparations appeared insufficient.

Manager Roy Hodgson took his team to Miami to acclimatise in similar conditions to those they expected to face in Brazil, playing a friendly against Honduras there and training in the sweltering heat 24 hours before.

Hodgson defends under-fire Rooney

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Cahill also consulted his Chelsea team-mates Oscar, Willian and the now-departed David Luiz about handling the conditions in Manaus. However, despite England's players being made to train in extra layers of clothing during the build-up to the finals, the preparations did not work as a series of players went down with cramp in the latter stages of the Italy game.

However, Prandelli was sympathetic, claiming FIFA should have allowed breaks during the game so the players could get some respite from the tough conditions.

"It was madness not to have time-outs in these conditions," he said. "If they want a spectacle, they have to give the players the possibility to recover."

FIFA clarified the position regarding the breaks by saying they would only be allowed when temperatures exceeded 32°C.

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