Much has been made of the stadium issues in Brazil in the lead-up to the FIFA World Cup. Another problem reared its ugly head on Wednesday, as reporters discovered the pitch at Arena Amazonia in Manaus is in woeful shape, mere days away from its marquee match between England and Italy.
Stadium officials are getting right out in front of this story by completely pretending that it isn’t an issue. They are doing this by spray-painting the field green to hide the numerous dead patches.
So there's a reason the pitch here in Manaus has looked much better today. They're spraying it with paint @BBCSport— Natalie Pirks (@Natpirks) June 12, 2014
The pitch in Manaus. Very patchy in parts & green spray has been applied. Should be better for such an important game pic.twitter.com/bwPyvqZwTl— Phil McNulty (@philmcnulty) June 12, 2014
Groundskeepers have struggled to keep the grass healthy at the newly-built stadium, due to the region’s extreme weather conditions.
All of these issues will make the Italy-England match on Saturday (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 6 p.m. ET) highly watchable, as both sets of players try not to melt in the searing heat, get paint on their shoes, nor break their ankles on the terrible field.