Posted: Thu January 30, 2014 12:10PM; Updated: Thu January 30, 2014 12:10PM

Roy Hodgson, Manaus officials make amends before World Cup

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Roy Hodgson
England manager Roy Hodgson has made amends with Manaus officials after initially hoping to avoid playing in the Amazon city during the World Cup.
Sang Tan/AP

SAO PAULO (AP) - England coach Roy Hodgson seems to have made up with local officials in the Brazilian jungle city of Manaus.

Hodgson got into a public spat with Manaus' mayor before the World Cup draw in December, but both sides appeared to bury the hatchet on Thursday.

Hodgson wrote a letter expressing his enthusiasm about arriving in June, when city officials say they are planning a warm welcome for England.

Hodgson said in a letter published by Amazonas state Gov. Omar Aziz on Thursday that he was ''looking forward to experiencing'' the city in what ''promises to be one of the highlights of the tournament'' for England.

Aziz said the city was planning a ''warm reception'' when Hodgson and his team arrive.

STRAUS: Klinsmann embracing Manaus, Amazon challenge after initial dismay

After Hodgson said in December that Manaus was the place to avoid during the World Cup, mayor Arthur Virgilio released a statement saying England would not be welcome.

Virgilio said at the time he was hoping to get ''a better team and a coach who is more sensible and polite,'' calling Hodgson ''one of the few people in the world who is not curious about the Amazon, who doesn't want to know Manaus.''

In a letter dated Jan. 17 and released on Thursday, Hodgson said ''we are extremely happy to be vising your city'' ahead of the team's World Cup opener against Italy on June 14.

''I am particularly keen to make contact with you following last year's media reports about the England v Italy match in Manaus,'' he wrote. ''I would like to put on record that I am looking forward to experiencing your city, learning about the culture and history and of course meeting the people!''

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