Demetrio Albertini has admitted he was the man who asked for the pitch not to be watered before Italy's Group C opener with Spain. A number of Spanish players complained about the state of the pitch after the 1-1 draw, Cesc Fábregas describing it as "lamentable". The head coach, Vicente del Bosque, insisted that supporters would have seen a better game had the surface been watered 15 minutes before kick‑off. Under Fifa rules the pitch is watered if both teams agree. Italy did not.
Albertini, the vice-president of the Italian Federation and the man responsible for communicating the decision to the stadium officials, defended his decision in the Spanish newspaper Marca. Meanwhile, Grzegorz Lato, the president of the Polish federation, has criticised the Spanish for moaning about the length of the grass.
"I was the one that told them not to water it," Albertini said. "It was watered 75 minutes before kick-off, before the warm‑up, but we did not want it to be watered 15 minutes before the game. I don't understand all this [fuss]. We're not used to playing on pitches that are so wet and fast. Nor indeed are many other teams. It's nothing against Spain, it's simply a Uefa ruling which allows us [to oppose the watering of the pitch].
"The grass was long but that was not our fault. I think we saw a great game from both teams and the pitch was the same for both of them."
Lato was unhappy at the accusations. "It's incredible that they say the grass was long," he said. "The grass was cut to the height it is supposed to be. It is true that it could have been watered. The Spanish asked for that but the Italians refused."