The study examines fatigue in elite soccer played in hot conditions. High-profile soccer players (n=20) were studied during match play at ∼31 °C. Repeated sprint and jump performances were assessed in rested state and after a game and activity profile was examined. Additionally, heart rate (HR), blood lactate, muscle temperature and body mass changes were determined. Repeated sprint and jump performances were reduced (P<0.05) by 2.6% and 8.2%, respectively, after the game. The fatigue index in the repeated sprint test was 6.0±0.7% after the game compared with 1.7±1.0% at rest (P<0.05). High-intensity running was 57±4% lower (P<0.05) during the last 15-min interval of the game compared with the first 15-min period. No differences were observed in mean HR or blood lactates between halves. Muscle temperature was 40.5±0.4 °C after the first half, which was 0.8±0.2 °C higher (P<0.05) than after the second half. Net fluid loss during the game was >2% of the body mass. Correlations were observed between net-fluid loss and repeated sprint test fatigue index after the game (r=0.73, P<0.05) and Yo-Yo intermittent recovery, level 1 test performance and high-intensity running during the final 15 min of the game (r=0.51, P<0.05). The study provides direct evidence of compromised repeated sprint and jump performances induced by soccer match play and pronounced reduction in high-intensity running toward the end of an elite game played in a hot environment. This fatigue could be associated training status and hyperthermia/dehydration.
© 2010 John Wiley & Sons A/S.