The groundskeeper for the field in Manaus, where the USA plays Portugal on June 22, on Wednesday admitted that the playing surface was in “bad shape” and would not improve much before the Arena Amazonas officially opens its doors for England’s Group D clash against Italy on June 14. Photographs taken in the last 48 hours, show a field that looks patchy and dry. The poor condition of the surface is exacerbated by the fact that games in Manaus, which is located in the heart of the Amazon jungle, will take place in severe heat and humidity.
Carlos Botella, the head groundskeeper for the field at the Arena Amazonas as well as six other World Cup stadiums, blamed the remote location of the host city, which is only accessible by boat or plane, for the problems. “Frankly, Manaus is in bad shape,” Botella told the Associated Press. “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. Yesterday we put fertilizer, and we’ll increase the fertilizing process with biostimulants and seeds to try to get the most out of the grass.”
Botella added: The maintenance has been complicated in Manaus. There are no roads, all the machinery and materials had to be brought by ship,” he said. “There’s no fertilizer, no seeds. Everything has been complicated.”