Saturday, June 23, 2018
Sports

Grass in Manaus green, one way or another

MANAUS, Brazil — The grass at the Arena da Amazonia will be green for today's Italy-England game, naturally or artificially.

Workers at the stadium have used green dye on the dead areas of the surface to make sure it looks good for the Group D match at the World Cup. The move is not unusual, but it comes after the head groundsman had said the field is in "bad shape."

As TV crews set up Friday, the crew was working on the field, making sure the lines and penalty spots were bright white.

Despite the concerns over the field's quality, England trained on it Friday, standard procedure for a major tournament. If a field is not in playing shape, governing body FIFA can cancel the practices and ask the teams to train elsewhere.

"I've just been on the pitch, and it's totally fine," English captain Steve Gerrard said. "The grass is perfect length."

The Arena da Amazonia is one of several stadiums in Brazil completed way behind schedule.

Diving distraction: France's Loic Remy has no sympathy for fellow striker and former club teammate Fred, and thinks the Brazilian should be punished for the way he fell to win a controversial penalty that led to the go-ahead goal in Thursday's 3-1 win against Croatia. "Experience comes into it, and it's important to fall at the right time," said Remy, Fred's teammate at Lyon from 2006-08. "For me, the striker should be punished for this kind of wrongdoing."

Beckenbauer ban: FIFA banned German World Cup winner Franz Beckenbauer 90 days for not cooperating with an investigation into the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids. Ethics prosecutor Michael Garcia requested the suspension, FIFA said. Beckenbauer refused "repeated requests for his assistance," FIFA said in a statement. Beckenbauer said he was surprised and he had received the questions only in complicated legal English. "I had to look at the date and make sure it wasn't April 1. I thought it was an April Fools' joke," Beckenbauer told Sky Sport News in Germany. It was unclear whether the ban would prevent Beckenbauer — who won the World Cup as a player and a coach — from attending the tournament.

Injury updates: Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez said he was unsure whether Luis Suarez would play today against Costa Rica. The striker joined regular training for the first time since a knee operation last month. … Ivory Coast coach Sabri Lamouchi said he expected Manchester City star Yaya Toure (hamstring) to be ready for today's game against Japan. … Midfielder Luka Modric (foot) is doubtful for Croatia's match Wednesday against Cameroon after being hurt Thursday against Brazil.

Welcome back — not: Brazilian fans greeted Diego Costa's return to his native land with jeers and insults. The Brazilian-born striker set up Spain's goal in its 5-1 loss to the Netherlands.

Obituary: Gyula Grosics, the goalkeeper of Hungary's "Golden Team" of the 1950s, died at 88, his family said. With Mr. Grosics in goal, Hungary was undefeated for four years, until losing to West Germany in the 1954 World Cup final.

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