Report: Awful pitch in Manaus is being covered with green spray paint

by Jun 12, 5:00 PM

It looks as though organizers found a short-term solution and resorted to spray painting the unsightly pitch in Manaus just days before the stadium hosts England and Italy during their opening match of the World Cup.

No official announcement has been made as to what exactly is being sprayed on the pitch, but the first picture appears to show an improvement to the images released in the last couple days. If the spray paint allegations are true, this incident will represent yet another black-eye for Brazilian organizers.

Maybe they needed eight years instead of seven to prepare?

Here's the image that will force both teams to apply extra tape to their ankles:

Jun 14, 5:51 PM

PHOTO: More evidence suggests Manaus pitch is in rough shape for England-Italy

by Jun 14, 5:51 PM

The concerns about the poor state of the pitch England and Italy will play on Saturday evening in Manaus appear to be justified. 

According to the Daily Mail, England goalkeeper coach David Watson was spotted stomping on large divots of turf in an attempt to smooth out the playing surface before the game. 

Rumors suggest the pitch conditions were so bad in recent days that officials resorted to painting dead patches of grass green.

Feature photo courtesy of Reuters

Jun 13, 7:22 PM

Grounds crew in Manaus works on World Cup field

by Jun 13, 7:22 PM

MANAUS, Brazil (AP) The grass at the Arena da Amazonia will be green for England's game against Italy, either naturally or artificially.

Workers at the stadium in Manaus have been using green dye on the dead areas of the playing surface to make sure it looks good for Saturday's Group D match at the World Cup.

It's not an unusual move, but it comes after the head groundsman said this week that the field is ''in bad shape.''

While television crews were setting up behind the goals on Friday, the grounds crew was working on the field, making sure the lines and penalty spot were bright white.

Despite concerns over the quality of the field, FIFA is clearly satisfied with its condition because England trained on it Friday, standard procedure for a match at a major tournament. If the field was not in playing shape, then FIFA could cancel the practices and ask the teams to train elsewhere.

''I've just been on the pitch and it's totally fine,'' England captain Steve Gerrard said. ''The grass is perfect length.''

The Arena da Amazonia is one of several stadiums in Brazil that was completed way behind schedule. The venue was supposed to have been finished a year ago, but crews were still scrambling to finish work only last month.

And its first real test is one of the most highly anticipated matches of the group phase.

With Uruguay and Costa Rica also in Group D, both England and Italy head into Saturday's game knowing that a loss will be a huge hit to their hopes of advancing.

''We'll be perfectly happy on that pitch,'' England coach Roy Hodgson said. ''It will suit both teams. ... It will be possible to play good football.''

After months of talking about the heat and humidity in Manaus, the problematic field is a concern neither team ever really considered.

Manaus is located in the Amazon rainforest and temperatures are expected to be about 32 degrees Celsius (90 degrees Fahrenheit) during the day on Saturday. The humidity is likely to be at least 80 percent.

Coping with the weather conditions will likely be harder than coping with the field conditions.

''We're not concerned about the heat, quite frankly,'' Hodgson said.

Feature photo courtesy of Reuters

Jun 11, 4:50 PM

Pitch in Manaus in 'bad shape' ahead of Italy vs. England match

by Jun 11, 4:50 PM

This is not what you want to hear if you're Cesare Prandelli or Roy Hodgson.

Via the Telegraph, the head groundsman with the company responsible for maintaining the pitch in Manaus says England and Italy will have to endure a less-than-ideal playing surface when they open their respective World Cup campaigns on Saturday at the Arena Amazonia.

"Frankly, Manaus is in bad shape," Carlos Botella said. "We’ve started to implement an emergency plan to try to save the field and improve it as much as possible, but I don’t think it’ll be in good condition by the weekend."

With only three days remaining before the two European powers lock horns, Botella says he and his team will continue fertilizing the turf, but concedes it is unlikely to make a significant difference in the quality of the pitch.

It's almost like playing a match in the middle of the Amazon Jungle was a bad idea. Who could have possibly predicted that?

This may have something to do with it: