Hodgson calls Manaus truce

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Roy Hodgson (AFP)
Roy Hodgson (AFP)

London - England manager Roy Hodgson has written to the mayor of Brazilian city Manaus in a bid to build bridges after he made negative comments about the World Cup venue.

Prior to December's group-phase draw, Hodgson described the Amazonian city as "the place ideally to avoid", only for England to be drawn to play their first game of the tournament against Italy there.

Hodgson was concerned about the high temperatures and humidity levels in Manaus, but his remarks drew a stern rebuke from the city's mayor, Arthur Virgilio Neto.

Neto said England were "not welcome" in Manaus and also accused Hodgson of being "uneducated".

Speaking after the draw, Hodgson insisted that he was looking forward to playing in Manaus and in a letter sent to Neto two weeks ago, he reiterated his stance.

"We are extremely happy to be visiting your city as part of our World Cup experience," Hodgson wrote in the letter, which was released to British media on Friday.

"I know the city of Manaus will be a fine location for our team to be based ahead of the group stage match against Italy. I am particularly keen to make contact with you following last year's media reports about the England v Italy match in Manaus.

"I would like to put on record that I am looking forward to experiencing your city, learning about the culture and history, and of course meeting the people! It promises to be one of the highlights of the tournament for us."

Hodgson is due to visit Manaus for the first time next month, prior to a coaches' workshop in the southern Brazilian city of Florianopolis.

England open their World Cup campaign against Italy on June 14.

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