France coach laments sweltering conditions at Euro
The heat is on France at the European Championship - and not just because it needs to beat Ukraine on Friday.
Coach Laurent Blanc has moaned about the sweltering playing conditions for the matches in Donetsk, where his team is based.
Temperatures soared to 33 C (91 F) for Monday's game against England and the heat has been intense all week. The French pushed back their scheduled late-afternoon training session at the Donbass Arena in Donetsk to late evening back at their training camp in Kirsha.
''I just went to the stadium and it's like an oven,'' Blanc said Thursday. ''There is a difference between the intensity of the night matches and those held (in the early evening).
''There's no comparison, and the matches that are being held in Poland are even more intense (because it's cooler).''
English and French players trudged off the field with red faces and their shirts drenched in sweat after their 1-1 draw Monday. Some fans and observers complained that the match was not as spectacular as it should have been, giving the talented players in both sides.
''The heat makes it difficult for the players. It's a reality you have to accept,'' Blanc said. ''When a team wants to (attack), they have to run and they need movement. I know it's the same for both teams, but the matches at (night) are much more intense and yesterday's game between Germany and Holland confirmed that. It was a great game.''
Ukraine coach Oleg Blokhin sympathizes a little with Blanc.
''To play attacking football for 90 minutes in these conditions is very hard,'' Blokhin said through a translator. ''Can we do something about it? No! So just go out and play. We'll see who has most energy.''
Associated Press writer Eric Willemsen contributed to this report.