The dead, patchy field at the Arena Amazonia in Manaus will not recover before Saturday’s England-Italy World Cup group stage game, officials say.
Jose Melo, the governor of Amazonas, gave a press conference on Thursday and said that a jungle fungus has infected the field.
“I was informed that this is a kind of fungus that lives in an extremely humid area and it is absolutely natural,” he told reporters. Manaus is a remote Amazon outpost in the middle of the rainforest. Melo added that the fungus wouldn’t affect the game.
Earlier in the week the head groundsman at the stadium said the field was in “bad shape” and it wouldn’t be repaired before the first game.
FIFA has been in charge of the stadium for the last month, according to O Globo. With no way to grow a lush field in 24 hours, the plan is to spray paint it green to make it look more presentable. There are brown streak and patches, particularly around the end lines.
Reporters at the Arena Amazonia on Thursday witnessed the painting going on, and photos of a worker spraying a mysterious green substance in the 18-yard box surfaced on Getty:
Fields are painted green more than you’d think, especially in the United States. The U.S. team frequently has trouble growing temporary grass fields to put on top of artificial turf. The field for the U.S.-Honduras game last year was probably worse than Manaus.
The teams have downplayed the importance of the poor field conditions. We won’t know how it affects the game until Saturday night.
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