Saturday’s England-Italy match in Manaus is one of the most highly anticipated matchups of group play. Yet, just hours before the match begins, the pitch is still not in great condition. In fact, the condition is so bad that groundskeepers were spotted painting it green on Friday.
Take a look at some of this pictures from ITV. Portions of the pitch were brown and dead, and the grounds crew in Manaus painted it green to simulate live, vibrant grass. Naturally, FIFA disputed this fact and said that the pitch was merely “receiving treatment”.
An injury is obviously still on the table, even though England received assurances that the pitch would be fine to play on, though ugly to look at. You have to wonder how much of that report is bunk following Italy’s scratch of Gianluigi Buffon due to an ankle injury suffered in training on Friday.