World Cup Surface Not Ready: Groundsmen are facing a race against time to get the pitch ready for one of England’s World Cup matches in Russia.
An inspection of the playing surface at the newly-built stadium in Novgorod show it has not fully taken root.
The Three Lions play Panama there on June 24.
Groundsmen fear replacement grass may not grow in time for the game, so are planning to fly in fresh turf from New Zealand to patch it up.
Playing on a dodgy surface usually favours the underdog and Panama are ranked 53 in the world – 37 places below the Three Lions who are currently 16th.
Vladimir Bulanov, a deputy of Nizhny Novgorod’s legislative assembly, said: “I’m not sure that the grass, which will need to play in two-and-a-half months, will be ready by the deadline.
“Grass planted last autumn under the open sky did not take root. Most likely a miracle will not happen and the case may end with the urgent importation of a lawn from New Zealand and laying it with squares just before the matches.”
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