Euro 2004: Thirsty fans, hydrated players

15th June 2004, Comments 0 comments

15 June 2004, LISBON - England and other fans have been confronted with "out of beer" signs in local pubs, but it was not thirsty players who emptied the watering holes to counter the stifling heat in the Euro 2004 host country Portugal.

15 June 2004

LISBON - England and other fans have been confronted with "out of beer" signs in local pubs, but it was not thirsty players who emptied the watering holes to counter the stifling heat in the Euro 2004 host country Portugal.

Tim Meyer, team doctor of the meticulous Germans, made it clear that beer is not desired among the four litres the players are supposed to drink each day to avoid dehydration at the tournament.

"Beer, coffee and tea are not useful," insists German team doctor Tim Meyer, who prefers his players to drink mineral water and energy drinks.

Even though there are no noon kickoffs like at the 1986 World Cup in hot Mexico, the sweltering heat in Portugal is of concern to all 16 teams.

"It is extremely hot on the pitch, you are sweating heavily after just five minutes," said Swiss midfielder Hakan Yakin after his match against Croatia Sunday which kicked off at 5pm local time.

While match times can not be moved, several teams have at least changed their training regime to avoid the intense midday sun with temperatures of up to 35 degrees Celsius.

The Bulgarians were among the first to change their schedule last week, with a positive side-effect of evening sessions.

"We can get used to the evening kickoff times," said coach Plamen Markov.

Czech helmsman Karel Bruckner agreed: "The heat is stifling. We must save our energy for the long tournament. We will probably move our practices to the early morning too."

Even though they are used to the heat, the Greek team enjoyed a siesta on Monday afternoon to conserve energy ahead of their second match against Spain, hoping for a similar upset as in Saturday's 2- 1 over hosts Portugal.

The Germans, though, will have none of this.

"Let the boys sweat a little," was the dry comment by coach Rudi Voeller, who sticks to his training routine in the late morning.

Voeller's view is supported by his doctor Mayer: "A healthy athlete can compete in the heat."

The Tour de France cyclists are a prime example of endurance in the heat, and also a role model when it comes the importance of liquid.

"The players should drink at least four litres.

"Drinking is essential. I constantly tell the players that they must drink more. Drinking is a very important factor to avoid muscular problems and keep the physical fitness," Meyer said.

While there are (non-alcoholic) drinks galore in the team quarters of Germany and the other finalists, the fans are not so lucky.

The English fans were unable to quench their thirst - and drown their disappointment about the late 2-1 loss to France - in Lisbon because there was none left.

Croatian and Swiss fans were also confronted with the "out of beer" signs after their goalless draw in Leiria.

DPA

Subject: German news

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