For the players participating in the FIFA World Cup, living up to the expectations of an entire nation is a daunting task in itself to begin with, and it does not get any easier for them as the conditions they are playing in are all the more testing.
Brazil is the temple of football, where the entire nation lives and breathes the game. Hence, it was almost fitting that this entire one-month World Cup carnival was hosted by them this time.
The prize that awaits that one team who wins the trophy is immense, and every participating country knows that. However, not only do they have to overcome the challenge of their rival countries, they also have to brave the hostile climatic conditions in Brazil, as wonderfully described in the infographic below from Andrews Sykes.
The stadiums in Brazil are placed across the entire massive geographic stretch of the nation, right from the Manaus stadium up north, where England fell to Italy last weekend; to the 48,000 plus seater Porto Alegre stadium down south. The immense length and breadth of the country means that the distance between the two stadiums spans nearly 2000 miles.
What makes it worse is that the climatic conditions vary tremendously within the country itself and from stadium to stadium. The elevation ranges from sea-level to 1.172 meters, which means that countries have to face new climatic challenges and adapt to them quickly before every game.
To make matters worse, all the players are put through a grueling sweaty session in every match as the level of humidity rises up to an unforgiving 80%, which not only is a big energy sapping hurdle but could also be a potential hindrance in players’ performances. It sure is a case of ‘survival of the fittest’.
Here’s when the home advantage could have its say. With the Brazilians used to their home conditions, could the climate make a telling contribution as to who wins the World Cup this time around?