Both manager and captain insist there will be no
problems with the playing surface at the Arena da
Amazonia following reports of barren and uneven
patches in certain sections
England manager Roy Hodgson and captain Steven Gerrard
have dismissed reports of a sub-standard pitch in Manaus
ahead of their World Cup opener against Italy on Saturday.
Suggestions that groundstaff at the Arena da Amazonia had
covered discoloured areas of the playing surface using green
spray paint were circulated in the media earlier in the week,
while pictures emerged of bumpy and uneven sections.
Officials from Fifa and local authorities played down any
issues and insisted work would be done up until the last
minute to ensure everything would be ready in time for the
first match in the city.
The pitch appeared to be in much better condition than
reported during England's open training session on Friday
evening, and both Gerrard and Hodgson insist there will be no
"I've just been on it now, it's fine, it's very flat, I don't see
any reason to be concerned about it at all," Hodgson told the
media. "I think it will play well and suit both teams. The grass
is short and it will be possible to play good football on it."
When captain Gerrard was asked about the newspaper
reports regarding the pitch, he responded: "With experience I
have learned to wait until I can get on the pitch myself, it's
easy to get the wrong impression and believe the wrong
"I've just been on it and it's perfectly fine. The sun is off
the pitch at 16:30 and we're kicking off at 18:00 [on
Saturday]. It's very zippy and it will make for a fantastic
Much had been made of the tropical conditions in Manaus,
situated in the heart of the Amazon jungle, but Gerrard is
confident he and his team-mates have prepared as well as
they possibly can in hot climates in Portugal and the United
States of America.
"We have to be cute and clever and take the conditions into
consideration but we're not worried about the pitch or the
conditions, it's the same for both teams."