England v Italy: Manaus World Cup pitch 'painted green' amid fears over condition

The Manaus pitch appears to be sprayed ahead of England v Italy on Saturday.
The Manaus pitch appears to be sprayed ahead of England v Italy on Saturday. Credit: Mike Egerton/EMPICS Sport

World Cup organisers face embarrassment after claims that ground staff at the venue of England's opening World Cup match have painted the pitch green to mask its poor condition.

Pictures from the Arena Amazonia in Manaus taken yesterday appear to show a groundsman covering dry brown patches with a green substance ahead of the Three Lions' clash with Italy on Saturday.

England are thought to have conducted their own investigation into the pitch.
England are thought to have conducted their own investigation into the pitch. Credit: Mike Egerton/PA Wire

Fifa refused to answer questions about the apparent dying, but did say the pitch is receiving "treatment" ahead of its first-ever international fixture.

England staff are thought to have commissioned their own investigations, receiving assurances from the Sports Turf Research Institute that while the turf may not be nice to look at, playing on it should be fine.

The patchy penalty area pictured only yesterday.
The patchy penalty area pictured only yesterday. Credit: Mike Egerton/EMPICS Sport

For their part, England's players appear unfazed by the challenge, with Wayne Rooney saying: "It's the same for ourselves and Italy so we'll both have to deal with that."

Goalkeeper Joe Hart - who may have more reason to worry than most - adds that the side were expecting tough conditions due to the location of the stadium, deep in the Amazon rainforest.

We've got to appreciate we're playing in the jungle, so we'll take anything.

– Joe Hart
The corners o the pitch are also badly browned amid high temperatures.
The corners o the pitch are also badly browned amid high temperatures. Credit: Mike Egerton/EMPICS Sport

Both sides will get a chance to test the conditions with hour-long sessions in the stadium on Friday night.

And with humidity and high temperatures also expected - 33C when Roy Hodgson's team touched down in the city on Thursday - the players look set to have more than just the usual World Cup pressures to deal with when the campaign kicks off the next day.

Read: Players union hits out over state of Manaus pitch

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