Saturday, April 17, 2010

England and the High Altitude Tent

More evidence that the Three Lions camp is getting a bit ahead of itself.

England are (as they say in the UK) planning for high altitude matches at South Africa.

After all, the 2010 World Cup features four stadiums that sit at an altitude in excess of 4,200 feet. (Check the graphic about halfway down the link.)

But know this about "clear path to the semis" England:

Two of England's three Group C matches ... will be played at sea level.

The opener against the Yanks is at 4,900 feet, at Rustenburg. And that might get to the lads, considering England is about as hilly as ... Holland.

But even the Cotswolds tower over Cape Town, the site of Game 2 vs. Algeria, and Port Elizabeth, site of Game 3 vs. Slovenia. The key words in those two towns are "Cape" and "Port". Hello! Sea level, people!

But England is thinking long term here. Countin' chickens/pre-hatch.

When (not if) they win the group and advance to the second round, they would be back at almost-mile-high Rustenburg. Then, after taking care of the runner-up out of Group D (Germany or Serbia, presumably, since we're presuming here, anyway), they would move into the quarterfinals and go up to Johannesburg, at 5,700 feet to play, say, Argentina.

After seeing off Lionel Messi y amigos, the Englishmen get a return to sea level at Cape Town, but the final against Brazil/Spain would be back up at 5,700 feet in Joburg.

So, England is getting ready for altitude.

English players will be sleeping in altitude tents, starting in the next few weeks, to get them ready for the "thin" air of Rustenburg. And the Joburh, of course.

It will all seem quite silly if something odd happens and, say, England doesn't survive Group C.

Maybe, then, those altitude-trained footballers could go up to Joburg and jog briskly around the stadium. for 90 minutes. Just to show how well conditioned they would have been for the quarterfinals and final, had they reached them.
Read more!