England fans in Donetsk have weather on the mind before Euro 2012 match against France
It's so English.
The smattering of fans who’ve made the arduous journey to the Ukraine had one thing on their minds this morning.
Who’ll play up front, filling Rooney’s shoes this afternoon against France? No, not exactly.
Will John Terry, nursing his dodgy hamstring, make it through the first half when chasing Benzema around the pitch? Not, not at all.
The first topic of conversation today in Donetsk has been the weather! It’s scorching, thirty degrees at midday and rising.
England’s supporters deserve a bit of sun on their backs. After the trip they’ve made it would have been unfair to be greeted by rain. But the players? Well, I suspect they could do without it.
The French have based themselves here and have been training in cryo jackets, designed to keep the body cool. They’ll be wearing them throughout half time today. After training sessions this week they’ve been sitting in ice chambers to cool down.
Captain Steven Gerrard said yesterday that it’s the same for both sides but the truth is France have had a chance to acclimatise and England have not. Given that we expect the French to have plenty of possession it could be a very energy sapping early evening for England’s defenders, chasing world class French shadows.
However fit you are any medical expert will tell you, elite athlete or not, there comes a point where if your body heat gets beyond a certain temperature you cannot function the same.
But, Roy Hodgson has built this team around a strong defence and England’s back five are very good, Joe Hart won’t be easy to beat today.
In the absence of Wayne Rooney, Hodgson will probably opt for Danny Welbeck to start up front, hoping he can expose the French defence, perhaps their only potential Achilles heel.
One thing I can guarantee by the end of today, England’s travelling support will have very red faces. We can only hope England’s players don’t too.