The United States has confessed to deliberately putting Honduras through “inconceivable” conditions in their World Cup qualifier on Thursday (AEDT).
The match was played out in St. Paul, Minnesota, where the temperature reached -17C with a feels like that reached -25C.
Honduras team officials hit out at the winter ambush after the match and the United States team has since admitted to using the conditions as a tactic in the 3-0 victory that has the Americans on track to qualify for the 2022 World Cup, to be played in Qatar, beginning November 21.
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The bitter conditions were best exposed off the field.
Fans posted photos from the grandstands of their cameras freezing over and their beer beginning to freeze over.
One live TV broadcast even soaked a football jumper in water before the match and it was frozen stiff shortly after.
Even before the match, Honduras coach Hernan Dario Gomez blasted US Soccer over the decision to play the game in such conditions, The New York Post reports.
“It’s inconceivable that a power in every sense would bring you here to play a game and get a result. The game hasn’t started, but I can’t wait for it to end. Because it’s not for enjoying, it’s for suffering,” said Gomez, who added after the match that some of his players needed an IV.
“Soccer shouldn’t be endured this way. I’ve got all my players getting treatment, some players getting an IV,” he said.
The theory for the US was that its Central American foes would not be used to the cold. However, questions have been raised about player safety. Several USMNT players remarked after the game about how cold it was, with goalkeeper Matt Turner saying his “boogers are frozen.”
USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter — who also came under fire on Twitter for posing for a picture with fans while the game was still going on — defended the decision to play the game in St. Paul after the win.
His confession is one of many reasons the international football community has slammed the tactical ambush.
“We provided Honduras and their staff and the referees with (cold)-weather gear, we provided them with head gear, trying to make it a safer environment for them to play in,” Berhalter said, according to The Athletic.
“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.
He also said earlier: “They’re all coming from the equator, and it’s going to be really difficult for them to deal with these conditions.
“They’re going to take a couple of breaths and it’s going to hit them like it never hit them before. You know what? I want it to be freezing.”
The win leaves the USMNT in a strong position to qualify for the 2022 World Cup. The team is in second place, four points behind Canada, with three qualifying games remaining. The top three teams in the eight-team CONCACAF standings will qualify for the World Cup, while the fourth-place team will enter into a playoff against a team from another region.
— This story originally appeared on nypost.com and has been republished with permission