Every day after training during the weeks before he travelled to Honduras, Tomi Juric did something he hated. After every gruelling training session at the foot of the Swiss mountains where the temperature was just a few degrees above freezing, the Socceroos’ striker would sit in a sauna.
For 15 minutes at a time, he would force his body to cope with the hot, humid air while his muscles were on the verge of cramping after tiring sessions with his club, Luzern. As he describes it, stints in the sauna were the best way he could prepare for lasting 90 minutes in the tropical climate of San Pedro Sula.
With Robbie Kruse injured and sent straight to Australia and Tim Cahill still in doubt for the first leg, there’s a strong chance Juric will have to last the entire game in one of the more challenging climates for any footballer, let alone one coming from a late European autumn.
While his teammates were getting changed, Juric stayed in the sauna to help himself adjust as quick as possible for a match that will be played just below 30 degrees and with 82 per cent humidity.
“I’ve been prepping for it as well, doing a lot of heat adjusting in the sauna. It’s just that little bit for that 1 per cent maybe,” he said. “If it helps, it helps, we know it’s going to be humid here. The most important thing is we know what to expect regarding the conditions. We’ll be as prepared as possible for it.”
The 26-year-old wasn’t just content on earning a place in the squad for Honduras, nor a starting position in the first 11, but being able to play at his absolute best in taxing conditions. It’s why he continued to lie in a sauna in Honduras, using the facilities at their training ground at Estadio Morazan.
“I just sit in there after training. I try to get a good 10, 15 minutes in. I’m not a big fan of the sauna, I do it because it will help a little bit and just to get the feel of the heat,” Juric said.
“It’s cold in Switzerland now. If I just came in here it would be a bit of a shock to the system. It’s just to keep it on level terms.”
The heat and humidity may have required major adjustment for Juric but he has no concern for the hostile environment inside the Estadio Olimpico in San Pedro Sula. Honduras’ home fans are some of the most passionate in Latin America and the infamous stadium an intimidating cauldron, and that’s exactly what Juric wants.
“I quite enjoy that, these hostile environments. I like playing in these sort of games,” he said. “I did it with the Wanderers where we travelled to some pretty hostile environments.
“When we played in Guangzhou against Evergrande it was one of the big ones in regards of the occasion and what was on the line for them and their fans. I quite enjoy it. I think that will bring the best out of a lot of us.”
That was the least of Juric’s worries upon landing in Honduras to find out his luggage didn’t arrive, meaning he had to train in his running shoes during his first session with the Socceroos.
It wasn’t until Wednesday when Juric could resume full training with his boots after his bag arrived late on Tuesday night.
“I lost my bag – or they lost my bag. It got in last night which is good. I can join into training today which will be good, I’m looking forward to it,” he said. “Today will be back to normal [my bag arrived] last night, nothing’s missing, so it’s good.”
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.