Thursday June 12 2014
'Pitch could ruin Italy-England'

FIGC Vice-President Demetrio Albertini is horrified by the state of the pitch in Manaus. “I hope it doesn’t ruin Italy-England.”

With a little over 48 hours to go until their Group D World Cup opening game, the playing surface at the Arena Amazonas was pictured looking uneven, dry and in some areas even burnt.

“We saw the images and were aware of the state of the pitch,” Albertini told Sky Sport Italia.

“Our delegation arrived last night and will today inspect the pitch and stadium. It’s certainly not pleasing to play on a field like this and we hope that it can be raised to the level expected for a World Cup.

“I hope the pitch doesn’t ruin the spectacle of the Italy-England game.”

Federation Vice-President Albertini commented on the Azzurri’s decisions around the long journeys between venues in Brazil.

“We chose the training camp in Mangaratiba because it has a pitch within the hotel, so we eliminated the need for more travelling.

“The World Cup is an incredible opportunity with so much media attention. The young players understand that too and we hope our lads can give us something to celebrate.”

The World Cup itself kicks off tonight with Brazil-Croatia, but protests are continuing with a CNN reporter injured and rubber bullets allegedly fired by police.

“We are not afraid of the protests, but we saw the concern when we travelled for the friendly with Fluminense and could sense a heavy police escort presence.”

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