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Monday, 08 September 2014, 19:45

European Qualifiers Group E

England-Italy kick-off changed

England's World Cup Group D opener against Italy on June 14 in Manaus has been moved back from 9pm to 6pm local time.

Last Updated: 07/12/13 at 20:39 Post Comment

England's coach Roy Hodgson and Italy's coach Cesare Prandelli greet eac

England's coach Roy Hodgson and Italy's coach Cesare Prandelli greet eac

That is bad news for England, who were desperate to play the match as late as possible because of the heat and humidity in Manaus, which is located in the north-west of Brazil in the heart of the Amazon.

But 9pm in Manaus equates to 2am in the morning in the UK, and 3am in Italy and broadcasters have succeeded in pressuring FIFA into moving the match to an earlier slot. It will now start at 11pm in the UK and midnight in Italy.

That suits TV audiences, but not the teams, and boss Roy Hodgson and his Italian counterpart Cesare Prandelli will not be happy.

Both men were concerned about the conditions even before the time switch.

Hodgson and Prandelli confirmed on Friday that they would be lobbying FIFA to allow drinks breaks during the match and the time change will make that even more important to them.

Temperatures are usually over 30 degrees in the summer in Manaus, but the humidity - typically over 80 per cent - is even more problematic.

FIFA claims a 6pm kick-off shares "similar conditions" to a 9pm one.

Before the draw was even made, Hodgson admitted that Manaus was the one venue he wanted to avoid.

Reacting to news of the new kick-off time, England managing director Adrian Bevington said: "We have been informed by FIFA of the change in kick-off time to ours and a number of other fixtures.

"Roy is aware, we are very relaxed about it and will continue to make the necessary preparations."

Forecaster Ben Windsor of MeteoGroup said: "There shouldn't be a great deal of difference between 9pm and 6pm.

"Sunset will always be close to 6pm, so they'll be playing under floodlit conditions either way.

"The only difference would be if it's a day where heavy showers build up during the afternoon. These will be more likely to have died out by 9pm compared to 6pm.

"Temperatures will be slightly cooler - around three to five degrees - at 9pm, but not by much as it tends to stay fairly hot and sticky throughout the night in tropical regions."

The kick-off times for England's other two games against Uruguay and Costa Rica have not changed.

England fans have been told to be on their guard during their trip to Manaus, which is located right in the middle of the Amazon rainforest.

"It's possible to meet alligators at night," a pamphlet from Manaus' tourist board says.

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