Honduras players get hypothermia during freezing World Cup loss to USA

Temperatures plummeted in Minnesota, leaving the visiting team suffering more than just a defeat

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It's sporting culture to try and get an edge over your opponents - sometimes by any means possible.

For the United States football team, they just needed a helping hand from Mother Nature in their World Cup qualifier against Honduras.

Much of the US has endured a cold snap in recent days, and Minnesota was certainly on the chilly side, with temperatures falling as low as -16 degrees Celsius, plus a -14C wind chill at the Allianz Field.

For the Honduras players, more used to a tropical climate, the big freeze proved too much, as a couple of players ended up with hypothermia and others on an intravenous drip after the game.

How did Honduras react to the big chill?

“Soccer shouldn’t be endured this way. I've got all my players getting treatment, some players getting an IV,” said manager Hernan Dario Gomez.

He said before the match: "The game hasn't started, but I can't wait for it to end. Because it's not for enjoying, it's for suffering."

The weather was understood to be the coldest in US team history and in violation of USSF guidelines for safe outdoor play.

The Americans did at least provide thermal head coverings for the Honduras players to wear during the match.

Luca de la Torre of the US is put under pressure by Honduras' Diego Rodriguez. Getty / AFP

The US didn't suffer as badly in the cold?

No, they controlled the match with more than 70 per cent possession, and goalscorer Walter Zimmerman said: “Once you get in that game mode, you just are out there competing, and that’s all that really matters.”

Coach Gregg Berhalter praised the more than 19,000 fans who braved the elements.

"It's easy on a night like tonight to just stay home and sit in front of the TV and stay warm in your living room, but these fans came out and came out with energy."

Berhalter defended the USSF decision to play the match in Minnesota and pointed to the conditions his players endure when travelling to Central America.

“When we go down to those countries and it’s 90 degrees and 90 per cent dew point and it’s unbearable humidity and guys are getting dehydrated and cramping up and getting heat exhaustion, that’s the nature of our competition."

Berhalter has a point about the different conditions, doesn't he?

Yes, there are many areas of the world where the home side has a climatic advantage.

One of these is Bolivia, who play their home matches at high altitude. The Estadio Hernando Siles in La Paz stands at almost 3,700 metres, and Brazil's Neymar described playing there in 2017 as "inhumane", as his team needed to recover afterwards with oxygen masks.

As for wrapping up warm, seeing players wear extra clothing didn't go down well with legendary former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

United's players were reportedly told by Ferguson that snoods (neck warmers) would not be tolerated at the club.

"Real men don't wear things like that," Ferguson told The Sun.

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Updated: February 03, 2022, 6:08 PM
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