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World Cup: Manaus pitch not up to standard - players union

The pitch in Manaus, due to host its first World Cup match between England and Italy, on Saturday is not up to the standards required for a match of that stature, according to world players union body FIFPro.

MANAUS: The pitch in Manaus due to host its first World Cup match between England and Italy on Saturday is not up to the standards required for a match of that stature, according to world players union body FIFPro.

FIFPro's remarks echo those of an AFP journalist who on Tuesday observed that the playing surface was noticeably dry and particularly bare around one of the goals, revealing large yellowing areas of turf.

"The players deserve a quality playing surface," said FIFPro in a statement.

"This isn't the case in Manaus. Nobody wants to see the players and the spectacle in general suffer."

Italian newspaper La Repubblica didn't mince its words with their headline regarding the state of the pitch.

"There is no grass in Manaus 'the pitch is embarrassing'."

The newspaper cites the head groundsman Carlos Botella, who doesn't give any cause for optimism.

"The pitch really is in a pitiful state," he told the paper.

"We have begun to implement an emergency plan to try and rescue it but I don't think it will be in a good condition come the weekend."

The Group D game which kicks off at 2200GMT is a rematch of the sides' Euro 2012 quarter-final which Italy won on penalties before going on to lose to Spain in the final.

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