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Last Updated: Sunday, 11 June 2006, 05:39 GMT 06:39 UK
Heat may hit England - Santa Cruz
By Phil McNulty
Chief football writer in Baden-Baden

Roque Santa Cruz tussles with Steven Gerrard
Santa Cruz says the heat could wreck England's chances of glory
Paraguay striker Roque Santa Cruz believes England's World Cup aspirations may be hit by heatwave conditions in Germany.

England's players admitted they struggled in soaring temperatures in Saturday's 1-0 Group B victory against Paraguay in Frankfurt.

And Bayern Munich striker Santa Cruz told BBC Sport: "I think England are a good side but they felt the heat.

"England might need it to rain if they are going to win the World Cup."

He added: "We could see it affected them. England didn't really have a rhythm in the game."

England only have to beat Trinidad and Tobago to seal their passage into the next round.

But Santa Cruz believes they will have to improve.

I didn't think England played with a lot of rhythm but they have some very good players - maybe they just need it to be a little cooler

Roque Santa Cruz

He said: "I didn't think we were lucky. I thought maybe 1-1 might have been a fairer result.

"We had some chances and we had lots of the ball in the second half. England were glad for the game to finish.

"The goal we conceded was very bad for us, which gave England a great start.

"I didn't think England played with a lot of rhythm but they have some very good players - maybe they just need it to be a little cooler.

"They will have to be better and show more rhythm and they must hope it is not as hot."

England goalkeeper Paul Robinson hopes the later kick-off times will help the team adapt better to the conditions.

He said: "It was very, very hot out there and we know we didn't play as well as we can do in the second half.

"We were pleased to win and not have very much threat on our goal. We were always comfortable. We managed to keep them away from our goal.

"They had a lot of play in the second half and we found it hard with the heat. Playing in the middle of the afternoon was hard and this is the only time we have to do that.

"Hopefully the next games will be better for us because we are playing later."

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