World Cup 2014: fears over state of Manaus pitch before England v Italy

• Playing surface looks dry and bare with yellow lines across it
• England due to take on Italy at new stadium on Saturday
• England coaching staff to inspect pitch on Thursday

England will send a member of their backroom staff to inspect the pitch at the Arena Amazonia in Manaus on Thursday after pictures emerged showing the playing surface in a shocking condition.

Just three days before the teams are due to meet at the new £173m Amazônia Arena, the surface looks dry and bare in places, with yellow lines running across the pitch. According to witnesses who have been inside the stadium this week, the ground is fully functional but not completely finished.

In and around the changing rooms, naked power cables could be seen dangling from the walls. According to reports, outside the stadium workers were still applying a final coat of asphalt, while several security doors could be seen in their packaging, still waiting to be fitted.

England are due to land in Manaus on Thursday morning and the Football Association has confirmed that one England coach will be sent to the stadium to see how it looks. England will train on the pitch on Friday, 24 hours before the Italy game.

The 46,000-seater stadium in Manaus was built for the World Cup and the pitch was in pristine condition when manager Roy Hodgson visited the city in February, prior to a Fifa workshop. But the playing surface has been undergoing emergency repairs in recent months due to seriously undernourished grass following the excessive use of fertiliser on the new playing surface.

Hodgson’s England team will travel to Manaus on Thursday and there are already concerns about how the players will handle the hot and humid conditions in the Amazonian rainforest. The state of the pitch will only add to the difficulties during the game.

Italy will travel to Manaus one day before kick-off.

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