England v Italy: 'Thin and scarred by yellow lines' - England to send inspector amid concerns over state of Manaus pitch

The pitch was treated two months ago with chemical crystals but the late solution has clearly not worked

Manaus

The pitch on which England will open their World Cup campaign was looking a dreadful state three days before Roy Hodgson’s side kick off against Italy.

The grass which authorities in Brazil claimed had been “at match conditions” since December, is thin and scarred by yellow lines running across the pitch. Work building the car parks and laying cabling is expected to continue up to match day in the 42,000 seat Arena Amazonia.

England will send a member of their backroom staff to inspect the pitch when they land in Manaus on Thursday.

The surface is made of Bermuda grass supplied by a company in Sao Paulo 1700 miles to the south. They were called back to treat the pitch two months ago with bare patches around the goalmouth and a thin covering elsewhere. The grass was treated by chemical crystals but, given the apparent state of the pitch, it has not worked.

While work continued outside the stadium, the authorities had been outwardly confident that everything inside would be up to World Cup standards but the comment by the head of Brazil’s World Cup management unit, Miguel Capobiango that: “The grass buds have all taken root and have been at match conditions since the end of December” looks way short of reality.

The stadium, which will host four matches, has staged two domestic fixtures, which revealed serious problems with crowd control. Roy Hodgson, who visited the stadium in February, declared himself happy with the state of the pitch, although after months of rainfall, followed by an intense dry spell, the England manager may not be so relaxed today.

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