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Soccer-Early kickoff in Salvador heat a danger to players - Bento

Reuters

By Mark Gleeson

SALVADOR, Brazil, June 15 (Reuters) - Portugal's lunchtime kickoff against Germany in World Cup Group G in Salvador on Monday will put players at risk because of the heat and humidity, Portugal coach Paulo Bento said.

"A 1pm kick off is harmful to the players," he told reporters at the Fonte Nova arena where, ironically, rain is expected and the temperature will touch 26 degrees with around 80 percent humidity.

"I believe to play in the heat is not the best way to produce good football. The most important thing in football is the players and they should not be exposed to that.

"You think that some lessons would have been learnt from the tournaments they had in the past, like in the USA," Bento added.

The 1994 World Cup in the U.S. had several midday kickoff times during a heatwave which created controversy, never more so than when Ireland manager Jack Charlton was stopped from offering water bottles to thirsty players on the pitch.

Bento said Portugal had tried to ensure they were properly prepared for expected testing conditions by playing two friendlies in the U.S. last week inside the space of seven days.

"I'm happy with our preparations against a team that must be considered one of the favourites." (Editing by Justin Palmer; mark.gleeson@thomsonreuters.com; +55 21985471451; Reuters Messaging: mark.gleeson.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net; To sign up for our Global Sports Forum chatroom, click on https://forms.thomsonreuters.com/global_sports_forum)

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