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Italy to train on troubled Manaus pitch as planned

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MANGARATIBA, Brazil (AP) — Italy plans to train as planned at the Arena da Amazonia in Manaus despite concerns about the pitch at the jungle World Cup venue.

The Azzurri travel to Manaus on Friday, a day before facing England in Group D.

Italian delegation chief Demetrio Albertini says “we’re not planning to change our schedule. … We knew there was some burnt grass due to the heat but the color of the grass doesn’t really matter.”

Albertini adds that an advance Italy delegation was slated to check out the pitch but was held up by airport strikes in Rio de Janeiro.

Groundskeepers were attempting to remedy the visibly dry, white stripes across the grass.

Head groundsman Carlos Botella told The Associated Press on Wednesday, “Frankly, Manaus is in bad shape.”