Today, teams playing in the opening match of the 2010 FIFA World Cup spent the morning playing non contact recreational games. This helps team building, nerve cooling and staying focussed. The later part of the day will be complete rest. There is a chance of TV and/or electronic media ban for the next 12 hours.
Later tonight, there will be team talk. Players will come together for a briefing on the line-up and tactics so that they sleep it over. The coach takes time to psyche the players by giving them life and game scenarios. Each player’s role is clearly outlined and explained in detail. It is to emphasise what the teams did over the qualifying rounds and recent friendlies.
There is likely to be mobile phone and video game ban after the team talk. No visitors and no roaming out and playing at night. No chances are taken and some teams hire bodyguards to watch. Besides the obvious curfews, players will be required to be in their rooms and sleep as early as 8 pm.
The morning before the game, all will be waking up for light breakfast at the same time, say 6 am. Some coaches prefer to have a heading tennis game or volleyball. This helps reduce the tension of the great day and loosen up muscles. After the games, usually at 9am, players will normally take a shower and see the physiotherapist. Some will prefer to have lunch first, which will be easily digestible carbohydrates like meshed potatoes and natural fruit juice.
The final team talk can either be done at camp or at the match venue. FIFA requires teams to arrive at the match venue 2 hours before kick-off. Before this pep talk, there is a usual loosening of bowels. The bathrooms get busy and reality kicks in. It is the moment of truth for both the coach and players. The coach hammers on the strength of the team and the possibilities, at the expectations and the glory of joy. He endeavours to drive as much fear and jitters away as possible.
The coaches’job is done by now and it is left to the players. The team dresses up and breaks into song. They are ready for war.