World Cup: England squad arrive in Manaus for Italy opener
Last Updated: 13/06/14 12:28pm
The England squad has arrived in Manaus ahead of their opening World Cup game against Italy on Saturday night.
Roy Hodgson’s men were due to train at their hotel base on Thursday evening and will train at the Arena Amazonia, which is the venue for the Italy game, on Friday.
Italy will travel to the northern city, which is a four-hour flight from Rio, on Friday.
Despite concerns over the pitch at the Group D venue, both teams will train on it as planned on Friday.
Italian delegation chief Demetrio Albertini said: “We're not planning to change our schedule. We knew there was some burnt grass due to the heat but the colour of the grass doesn't really matter."
Albertini confirmed that an advance Italy delegation was slated to check out the pitch but was held up by airport strikes in Rio de Janeiro.
Ground staff have been attempting to remedy the visibly dry, white stripes across the grass and head groundsman Carlos Botella said: "Frankly, Manaus is in bad shape.
"We've started to implement an emergency plan to try to save the field and improve it as much as possible, but I don't think it'll be in good condition by the weekend.”
Meanwhile, it has been confirmed that Champions League final referee Bjorn Kuipers will take charge of the game.
The Dutch official oversaw Real Madrid’s extra-time win over Atletico Madrid last month.