Low: Preparation key to countering altitude

SUN CITY, South Africa - Pre-tournament preparation will be the key to countering the possible effects of high altitude at this year's World Cup, German coach Joachim Low said on Tuesday.

Low told reporters at a pre-World Cup workshop for all participating coaches that any prospective World Cup winner would need a high level of fitness to stand any chance in the potentially taxing condition in South Africa.

Six of the 10 World Cup venues are at altitudes of around 1,500 metres above sea level.

"Preparation will be very important for us. We plan to train in the mountains in Austria before we go to South Africa and from the first day we arrive at the World Cup we have to work hard to have a good tournament," he said.

"We do not have a long time to work together between now and the start of the World Cup. I have had one match between November and March but this is a problem for all the coaches.

"We don't need to do more physical training to counter the effects of altitude but physically the players have to come with a good basis of fitness.

"We will have to adapt to the situation and make sure we are in the country some days before. Our first and second games are at sea level, so things will change all the time and we have to learn to adapt to that," he told reporters.

Germany open their Group D campaign against Australia in Durban on June 15 and next play Serbia in Port Elizabeth five days later.

They will be based at altitude in Pretoria between the matches and have a game against Ghana on June 23 at Johannesburg's Soccer City stadium, where the altitude is 1,740 metres above sea level.