Despite beating Switzerland 1-0 to reach the last 16 of the World Cup in Qatar, several Brazil players raised concerns about the state of the pitch at Stadium 974 with Argentina and Poland set to play at the temporary stadium made from shipping containers on Wednesday.
“Grass is a bit scarce,” said striker Richarlison after the Switzerland game. “It’s difficult to control the ball. We’re used to playing in Europe on pitches that look like carpets, but we got here and there’s a lack of grass. But, if it’s going to be difficult for us, then it’s going to be difficult for our opponents as well.”
Sevilla defender Alex Telles agreed, saying: “The field was a bit strange. We noticed it during the warm-up, the ball was jumping around more. I was running a lot and we didn’t feel safe for fear of injury.”
“The pitch affected us. It was bad,” explained Newcastle midfielder Bruno Guimarães. “We had to control balls that we would normally play with one touch… but the important thing is that we got the three points.”
Brazil will return to Stadium 974, the only ground without air conditioning being used at the World Cup, for their round of 16 tie, should they win Group G. That game will be the last at the ground during the tournament, but two games, Argentina v Poland and Serbia v Switzerland, will be played there before then. What state will the pitch be in by then?