— Evan Doherty (@YSportsEvan) June 11, 2014
Italy and England will kick off their World Cup schedules Saturday on an Arena de Amazonia field that even the head groundsman admits is in “pretty bad shape.”
Carlos Botella, the head groundsman for the Royal Verd Company (they are responsible for the playing surfaces at seven World Cup stadiums in Brazil), told the Associated Press Wednesday that Manaus is now under an, “emergency plan to try to save the field.” But Botella admitted that the measures taken — which will include fertilizer, biostimulants, and seeds — may not do much. “I don’t think it’ll be in good condition by the weekend,” Botella conceded.
While Italy’s plans weren’t immediately known, the Daily Mail reported that England planned to work out in a gym Thursday and get to the field Friday. An advance party for England is expected to test the field at some point Thursday.
— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) June 11, 2014
The field’s conditions aren’t entirely the fault of Botella’s crew, as he told the Telegraph:
“The maintenance has been complicated in Manaus. There are no roads, all the machinery and materials had to be brought by ship,” he said. “There’s no fertiliser, no seeds. Everything has been complicated.”
Word Cup action begins Thursday at 4pm (Eastern), when Brazil plays Croatia. You can learn how to stream all the action with our handy World Cup Watching guide.
Photos courtesy of Reuters and Associated Press)