Sizzling temperature prompts Costa Rica go-slow


Orlando (AFP) – Costa Rica forward Bryan Ruiz says his team will be forced to slow down their game due to the sizzling temperature for Saturday’s Copa America Centenario Group A opener against Paraguay.

Costa Rica, World Cup quarter-finalists in Brazil two years ago, took to the field at Orlando’s Citrus Bowl for their final tune-up on Friday in 90 degrees fahrenheit (32 degrees celsius) and heavy humidity. 

The forecast is for even more torrid heat for game-time on Saturday.

“It is very hot,” said Sporting Lisbon forward Ruiz. “We certainly won’t go crazy at the beginning of the game taking into account the conditions.

“It is important to get the three points, that will give us a good chance to quality from a tough group but sometimes we will have to hold back,” he added.

The United States and Colombia kick off Group A action later on Friday with the tournament’s first game.

The Copa America tournament is the biggest international soccer event to be held in the United States since the 1994 World Cup.

Orlando was a venue for that tournament and drew attention after a group game between the Republic of Ireland and Mexico was played at mid-day in a temperature of 105 degrees fahrenheit.

Costa Rica coach Oscar Ramirez also acknowledged the role that the heat would play but said he was sure his team could cope.

“The first game is always the most complicated but I think we have prepared well. I see the team in a good shape and with the right mentality to the job,” he said.

“We are going to try to apply the philosophy that we have, while taking into account the heat. It is going to be an interesting game I think,” added Ramirez.

Ramirez’s plans suffered a blow with the loss of first choice goalkeeper Keylor Navas, who picked up an Achilles tendon injury during his club Real Madrid’s Champions League triumph over Atletico Madrid in Milan last week.

Ramirez indicated that Patrick Pemberton, who plays for Alajuelense in the Costa Rican league, would start in goal.

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