England coach Hodgson warns of World Cup problems

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LONDON (AP) - England coach Roy Hodgson is expecting logistical problems at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, from unsuitable hotels to varying weather conditions and lengthy flights.

With qualifying starting next month, Hodgson is worried about the facilities after visiting potential bases in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Belo Horizonte.

"It's a vast country. I don't think we realize quite how vast," Hodgson said Friday. "There's going to be enormous difficulties for the teams that qualify, according to where they're drawn."

The 64 matches will take place across 12 cities in Brazil, with some flights taking six hours, and organizers want to ensure most teams play across the country.

"There are going to be enormous logistical problems. The major problem at the moment is that the local organizing committee and the management of FIFA haven't yet come to a definite decision which training ground will be paired with which hotel," Hodgson said. "You don't really want to be necessarily choosing a hotel with a training venue you don't like and vice-versa.

"The type of hotels that you're likely to stay in won't be the sort of hotels that national teams like to stay in, where you can essentially commandeer a hotel and fashion it to your requirements. It'll be very difficult to get the type of privacy that national teams prefer, if they can get it, when they go to major tournaments."

FIFA had previously suggested it would learn from logistical issues in South Africa in 2010 by basing each four-team group in one of four areas to minimize the strain of moving players, fans and officials.

In an apparent reversal, FIFA decided that teams will travel across the vast country as they did in 2010. Eight teams will travel to the isolated Amazon city of Manaus.

Organizers believe the schedule is fairer to teams. They will experience a range of conditions in the southern hemisphere winter - from the warm north of Brazil to the cool south and humid inland cities versus temperate coastal venues.

"If you're down in Porto Alegre, you'll going to need a fur coat because it snows and temperatures reach single figures, certainly, and maybe even sometimes lower," Hodgson said. "And if you find yourself in Manaus, then you won't be sunbathing but you will find 45, 50 degrees (Celcius) of heat and plenty of mosquitoes as well being near the Amazon jungle."

But Hodgson said staging the World Cup in the home of a major soccer power will add "spice."

"It's a country which is totally dominated by football," he said. "They're also known, of course, for their carnivals and their party atmosphere, which I'm sure won't be something which supporters would find too daunting.

"People are going to be a lot keener to go to Brazil than perhaps some other countries that are occasionally chosen to be World Cup venues."

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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