England stars baffled at being DENIED drinks breaks in sweltering heat during win over Croatia at Wembley, which had them gasping for breath as they played on one of June’s hottest EVER days
England’s players were left frustrated at being denied water breaks during Sunday’s 1-0 win over Croatia, a game played in stifling conditions that left many of them gasping for breath.
Tyrone Mings said it was the hottest match he had ever played in, and Gareth Southgate responded by taking the unusual step of withdrawing a seemingly fatigued Harry Kane, one of three substitutions made by the England manager.
The majority of Southgate’s squad became accustomed to water breaks when playing in high temperatures last summer after they were introduced by the Premier League for Project Restart, an attempt to combat the increased likelihood of injury and fatigue.
Wednesday 16 June
England’s players were not allowed to take drinks breaks despite sweltering heat on Sunday
Players were sprayed with water instead as England looked to minimise the damage of the heat
UEFA have increased squad sizes at Euro 2020 from 23 to 26 and allowed five substitutions rather than three, but have not brought in water breaks. It is to the surprise of England’s players, especially with player welfare a high priority and after the horrific collapse of Denmark’s Christian Eriksen on Saturday.
England’s coaching staff reacted to the lack of water breaks on Sunday by spraying players with with a mist machine at half-time, as well as giving them iced towels and electrolyte tablets.
Under UEFA rules, ‘cooling breaks’ are not permitted until the pitch-side temperature hits 32ºC (90ºF), when a 90-second break is permitted 25 minutes into each half.
The temperature is taken during both side’s pre-match warm-ups — it was 28ºC (82ºF) in London on Sunday, one of the hottest June days on record.
The temperature didn’t reach the UEFA minimum to require water breaks to be brought in
There was confusion over UEFA’s decision with the attention on the health of Christian Eriksen
England’s players showed no ill-effects from play in the extreme heat during a light training session on Monday, which began with all members of the squad doing recovery work in the pool at St George’s Park.
The starting XI against Croatia went to the gym for pilates and stretching, with the rest of the squad doing fitness and ball work outside.
FIFA first introduced official water breaks for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, when play was stopped for three minutes in the 30th and 75th minutes.
The Premier League brought them in during a heatwave in August 2015. They were also used in all games at the end of last season regardless of temperature, due to the congested way in which the campaign ended.