Friday 24 October 2014

Pic: Fears over the state of Manaus pitch ahead of England-Italy clash

Published 11/06/2014 | 10:51

The pitch at Manaus's Amazonia Arena is in a poor condition, with the playing surface dry and particularly bare around the goals Photo: AFP / GETTY IMAGES

There are fears over the pitch at Manaus's £173m Amazonia Arena after pictures emerged of it in poor condition only three days before England play their first World Cup match there against Italy.

The playing surface is noticeably dry and sandy and particularly bare around one of the goals, with large yellowing areas of turf.

The rest of the stadium is not completely finished, with naked power cables dangling from the walls of the changing rooms and workers still applying a final coat of asphalt outside the ground. Several security doors are also waiting to be fitted at the stadium where a construction worker died last year after falling from the roof.

Roy Hodgson's England team are due to travel to Manaus on Thursday ahead of Saturday's game and will be worried to hear about the state of the pitch. There are already concerns about how the English players will handle the stifling heat and humidity deep into the Amazonian rainforest.

Specially constructed for the 2014 World Cup, the 46,000-capacity Amazonia Arena had been held up as an example, having been one of the first new stadiums in Brazil to break ground.

However, the pitch has been undergoing emergency repair in recent months due to seriously undernourished grass following the excessive use of fertiliser on the new playing surface. It is considered difficult to maintain a good playing surface in Manaus because of the extreme weather conditions.

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