England ready to cope with the heat in Ecuador match

England will not wilt in temperatures expected to rise above 30 degrees centigrade (86 degrees Fahrenheit) on Sunday when it meets Ecuador in the second round of the World Cup, coach Sven-Goran Eriksson said.

England trained Saturday afternoon in Stuttgart in temperatures of around 30 degrees and similar heat is expected at the start of the match at 5 p.m. (1500GMT) Sunday.

"All our camp is extremely inspired by tomorrow," Eriksson said. "We know that we have a good team, we know that we have a good chance to go a long way in this World Cup.

"We want to take it and we've spoken about sleeping, eating, drinking to prepare as (well) as possible for the heat tomorrow, which is one important detail." Spirits were extremely high, he added.

England played its World Cup opener in similar conditions in Frankfurt on June 10. It struggled with the heat in the second half, often losing possession, and beat Paraguay 1-0 with an own goal.

"It's important that we keep it (the ball) tomorrow and I think that we will be better than the other three matches we played," he said.

Players who completed the whole match against Paraguay lost between 2 to 5 kilograms (4.4 and 11 pounds) and went through nearly three times as much water as normal.

"The starting lineup doesn't depend on the heat, it depends more on how we want to play," Eriksson said.

The Swede said he thought Wayne Rooney may be ready to play a full game on Sunday despite only playing in two matches since breaking his foot on April 29. "I hope he's ready for 90 minutes but it's only the match tomorrow which will decide that," Eriksson said. "It will be hot and I don't know. I hope so and I think so as well."

Eriksson quits as England coach after the World Cup after 5 1/2 years in charge, but he's adamant that Sunday won't be his last match.

"No, and I never thought that tomorrow would be my last game, absolutely not," he said. "I never dreamed about it."

Eriksson is expected to feature a new-look team against Ecuador that he experimented with in training with Rooney playing as sole striker and Michael Carrick making his World Cup debut as a holding midfielder.

Owen Hargreaves, who played in that role in the 2-2 draw with Sweden, was switched to right-back. Gary Neville, who normally starts in that position, will miss his third match with a calf complaint. Jamie Carragher had played there in England's last two matches, but will start on the bench.

Rio Ferdinand took part in full training on Saturday and should also start in central defense.

With Michael Owen sent home on Wednesday with a serious knee injury, Eriksson will field his fourth different team so far in Germany.

"The ideal thing is to play excellent football and keep the same 11 all tournament, but that hasn't happened," Eriksson said. "I said before the World Cup, I think we need different systems than 4-4-2, the way we normally play it. Maybe tomorrow, maybe not," reports AP.


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