'It's difficult to breathe' - Rakitic concerned about Manaus conditions

Although it was considerably cooler in the Amazon city than when Italy defeated England on Saturday, the midfielder revealed how difficult it was to complete 90 minutes
By Sam Lee at the Arena da Amazonia

Croatia midfielder and new Barcelona signing Ivan Rakitic is the latest player to voice his concerns over the hot conditions in World Cup host city Manaus.

Rakitic’s side beat Cameroon 4-0 on Wednesday night to set up a crunch match with Mexico to decide who will go through to the last 16 of the tournament.

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The midfielder, who this week completed a move to Camp Nou from Sevilla, was especially pleased with the result given that it was "difficult to breathe".

“It’s really hard to play here, it’s too hot, it’s so hard, it’s really difficult to breathe, you don’t have the air that you need," he said.

“In the second half it was easier because we scored the second goal early, and they had 10 players so it was difficult for them.  But we played a good game, we scored the first goal and after the red card it was easier for us.”

Following Italy’s win over England on Saturday – the first game to take place in the Amazonian city – coach Cesare Prandelli and defender Giorgio Chiellini both criticised Fifa's decision not to have water breaks during the match.

There were also no officially scheduled water breaks on Wednesday, with the conditions considerably cooler than for the city’s opener on Saturday.

Rakitic is now looking ahead to Monday's game with El Tri in Recife, where his side will have to win if they are to stand any chance of reaching the knockout stages - or draw and hope Brazil lose heavily to Cameroon.

“We have to be happy because 4-0 is a good result and we could’ve scored three or four more," he added. "We are happy now, we can say that we completed the game and now we have to think about Mexico.

“The most important thing is that we have everything in our hands, we have to win. We have to win if we are to pass the groups.

"We have to be ready because if we don’t win we go home, and I don’t want to go home."