2014 World Cup: Playing in Manaus 'not ideal' - Roy Hodgson

Hodgson's mixed feelings on Manaus

England boss Roy Hodgson says playing a World Cup group match in Manaus is "not ideal", but he accepts that games must be spread around Brazil.

England must travel 1,777 miles to the Amazonian city from their chosen base in Rio for their opening Group D match against Italy on 14 June.

Temperatures in the region reach 30C, while humidity is about 80%.

"From the coaches I spoke to, we all agree that Manaus is not an ideal place to play football," said Hodgson.

Four World Cup games will be played in the city's specially constructed Arena da Amazonia stadium.

England are also due to play group games in Sao Paulo and Bela Horizonte, where the temperatures are not as severe.

Hodgson plans to visit Manaus on a fact-finding trip in February.

He told BBC Sport's Natalie Pirks: "It's in the middle of the Amazonian jungle and the temperatures and humidity are much, much greater than any other place in the country.

"I'm not certain Brazil, Uruguay and Colombia would have been jumping for joy if they were drawn there. I've never known Brazil, for example, play any of their home matches in Manaus."

Before the draw, Hodgson described Manaus as "the place to avoid" because of its climate.

Those comments drew criticism from the mayor of Manaus, Arthur Virgilio, who said England would not be welcome in the city.

Hodgson talks Hart's hopes and Suarez threat

"I think most teams were rather hoping they were drawn in places where the climate is more favourable," said Hodgson.

"On the other hand, I understand the Brazilians want to spread this World Cup around the country and Manaus is a very important town and city in Brazil.

"Having thought about it and seen how the group has panned out, I'm really embracing the idea of going there."

England will fly to Manaus on 12 June to train and will stay on after the game on 14 June, returning to Rio the following morning.

The match against Italy was brought forward by three hours to 23:00 BST (18:00 local time) after Fifa heard representations from a number of parties, including broadcasters ITV, BBC and RAI.

Hodgson said he did not think the change in kick-off time would make "a vast difference" to conditions, but added he would know more following his trip to Manaus in February.

"It will be a challenge for us to do all the acclimatisation and preparation so that when we kick off at 18:00, the players will be as ready as they can be," he said.

England will face another challenge in their second Group D match against Uruguay, when they are likely to come up against in-form Liverpool striker Luis Suarez.

"At the moment, there is no better footballer playing in the Premier League and there won't be that many playing anywhere in the world," said Hodgson.

"It's unfortunate we'll have him to face - he'll certainly give our defenders some headaches - but it's up to us to try and nullify his talent."

Hodgson also continued to back his number one goalkeeper Joe Hart, who has lost his starting place at Manchester City.

"I can't say that it's not a situation that concerns me, but I'm still hopeful that Joe will win his place back in the team," said Hodgson.

World Cup weather

"There's plenty of time between now and May. I just feel sorry for him that he's got to endure this situation, where his club manager prefers someone else."

Hodgson also commented on the protests that have plagued Brazil in recent months, as people complain about the public money being spent on new stadiums rather than public services.

"Fifa have got a problem there because the Brazilian government have got a problem on their hands," he said. "But we can't really get too much involved. We are not political animals, we are footballers."

He added: "It will be a great World Cup. Brazil is a fantastic football country. I'm still pretty confident that when June comes around it will be all about the football, the people, the colour, the passion."