World Cup news

Ottmar Hitzfeld blasts FIFA over Manaus

January 9, 2014
By Stephan Uersfeld, Germany Correspondent

Switzerland coach Ottmar Hitzfeld has criticised FIFA’s decision to stage part of the 2014 World Cup in Manaus. 

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Hitzfeld's side were drawn in Group E in December, alongside Ecuador, France and Honduras -- who they will play in Manaus in their final group game on June 25.

Switzerland's opening match against Ecuador will be staged in Brasilia and from there they travel to Salvador, where they will face their European neighbours France.

“I nearly find it irresponsible that you have to play football in such a place in the middle of the jungle in the Amazonas region,” the former Bayern Munich coach told German TV station SWR.

The 64-year old, who will end his successful coaching career after the World Cup, added: “I believe commerce is in the foreground, and I disagree with the FIFA ruling.

“Also looking at all of the country -- and Brazil is a huge country -- it’s a five-hour flight if you have to go from Salvador to Brasilia and to Manaus from there.

“You have to be in a very good physical condition, and over the next few months we’ll have meetings with sports scientists, also with doctors and physiotherapists, to prepare for that.”

Following the World Cup draw, United States head coach Jurgen Klinsmann also said that travelling in Brazil could prove to be a problem.

“From a travelling point of view, we have the furthest distance to travel with our team,” Klinsmann said.

During the group stage, the U.S. will travel around 14,000 kilometres to reach their games in Manaus, Natal and Recife.

Klinsmann’s side will be based in Sao Paolo in the south of Brazil, despite all three group games being played in the north.

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