Hot temperature greets Boyz on arrival in France
LILLE, France — Though still more than two days before what is expected to be their sternest test of this four-game tour, the Reggae Boyz literally felt the heat in France yesterday, as they arrived in Lille from London just after midday.
The Boyz had grown accustomed to mild and sometimes cool to cold temperatures since the beginning of their tour in New Jersey some two weeks ago, and during their third game against Egypt on Wednesday at the Matchroom Stadium in Leyton, East London, temperatures dropped as low as eight degrees Celsius.
So, except for those residing in Jamaica, they were stunned at the Lille Football Club training grounds by temperatures soaring above 26 degrees Celsius under a fierce, unrelenting sunshine at 6 o'clock in the evening.
However, the visitors, who face 1998 World Cup champions and hosts France at the Stade Pierre Mauroy at 9:00 pm (2:00 pm Jamaica time) on Sunday, can take some comfort in the fact that weather forecast is for temperatures ranging from a high of 13 degrees Celsius to a low of eight degrees Celsius at match time.
Nonetheless, the Boyz were taken through a near 50-minute technical session by head coach Winfried Schaefer and his technical staff comprising Miguel Coley and Warren Barrett. They did not engage in any tactical team play or scrimmaging.
The Boyz had arrived via Eurostar about an hour-and-a half after departing London.
They were met on arrival by extremely efficient officials of the French Football Federation and were quickly escorted by police to their Mercure hotel less than 30 minutes from the rail station. The police escort also proved very effective to move the Boyz freely through thick traffic to and from the training venue.
All players except Jamar Loza made the trip. The young Norwich City striker was unable to receive his Schengen visa in time to travel with the squad.
Two physiotherapists were called in to massage players last evening, in an effort to keep them fresh for Sunday's game, having played three games over the past 10 days, including a trans-Atlantic travel.
The team is scheduled to practise at the newly erected match venue for an hour and 15 minutes at 4:00 pm (9:00 am Jamaica time) today.
Meanwhile, the Jamaicans will be spared the attacking flair of Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery, who was yesterday ruled out of the World Cup finals in Brazil with a back injury. Ribery limped off the training pitch complaining of pain and an MRI scan later confirmed the extent of the injury. His loss is a huge blow for the Europeans as he was voted the third best player in the world behind Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi in the last year's poll.
It is understood that the 31-year-old who has scored 16 times in 80 appearances for 'Les Bleus' injured his lower back in training yesterday.
Head coach and World Cup winning captain Didier Deschamps said the player is not capable of training for a few weeks, much less to play a game. He helped Bayern win the German league and cup double this past season.