UK & World News

  • 12 June 2014, 2:11

World Cup: England Pitch 'In Poor Condition'

Images of the pitch on which England will play their first World Cup match have emerged, showing the surface looking brown and worn.

Distinct lines can be seen running across the turf between the sidelines in a picture of Manaus's Amazonia Arena taken on Tuesday - just four days before Roy Hodgson's men face Italy.

An AFP journalist at the scene of Saturday night's game, who has been able to see the grass up close, said it looked in poor condition.

The agency said the playing surface was noticeably dry and particularly bare around one of the goals, "revealing large yellowing areas of turf".

It will concern England fans and management, who have been rigorously training their team to cope with Manaus's high humidity.

When asked about the pitch at a press conference on Wednesday, striker Wayne Rooney said: "At the end of the day it's the same for us and Italy so we'll both have to deal with that."

England are due to kick off their Group D opener at 11pm UK time in a match at the tournament's most remote venue - in the middle of Brazil's hot and steamy rainforest.

The rest of the stadium appeared to be fully functional, even though it was not completely finished.

Naked power cables could be seen dangling from the walls in and around the changing rooms, according to AFP.

Outside the stadium, where workers were applying a final coat of asphalt, several wrapped security doors could be seen, still waiting to be fitted.

The 46,000-capacity Amazonia Arena was specially constructed for the 2014 World Cup.

The number of England fans who will make the 1,800 mile journey from Rio de Janeiro or Sao Paulo to the game is not known, but it is expected to be several thousand.

Despite criticism of Manaus as a venue, the stadium was earlier held up as a good example, having been one of the first new stadiums in Brazil to break ground.

England have been in Rio de Janeiro since Monday and are due to fly to Manaus on Thursday where they are due to hold two part-open training sessions.

On arrival in Rio, manager Roy Hodgson told Sky Sports News the team were becoming more acclimatised as the days went by.

His comments came despite his team's goalless draw against Honduras - which has a comparable climate - last weekend.

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