Will The Manaus Football Stadium Ruin Things For England?

England’s national football team is scheduled to take to the pitch against Italy on Saturday at the Arena de Amazonia in the Brazilian city of Manaus.  But team manager Roy Hodgson is sending a member of the Football Association (FA) to give a final review of the stadium conditions before the match begins on Saturday.

England’s top football managers became concerned about the stadium earlier this week.  Numerous pictures showing a poorly maintained turf inside Arena de Amazonia showed the world that the stadium is not fully prepared for the World Cup stage.  England and Italy are the first two teams scheduled to play in that stadium.

The team is scheduled to arrive in Manaus today, but will not practice on the pitch as originally scheduled.  Hodgson is reportedly taking his players to a nearby gym for a few hours of training this afternoon, and will wait until late Friday to actually practice inside the stadium.

The conditions inside the stadium are not only a concern for Hodgson or the FA, but also the workers that set up the grounds of the pitch.  The work was completed by the Royal Verd Company, an organization that specializes in landscaping and gardening inside sports arenas.

Carlos Botella, Head Groundsman for Royal Verd, admits that the conditions in Manaus fall short of FIFA standards.

“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.”

The players are so far keeping any concerns about the conditions on the pitch to themselves.  But if Hodgson is requesting a special review by the FA before Saturday’s match, the team must be more worried than they are letting on.

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