Uefa has told Italy and the Republic of Ireland that they will not be allowed to train at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy in Lille before their Group E game on Wednesday because of damage to the playing surface.
Instead both sides will train at their own bases on Tuesday before travelling to Lille. They will, however, be permitted to walk on the pitch before the game.
Roy Keane, the Republic assistant, is not concerned about being unable to train at the stadium but is hopeful the surface will be up to scratch come kick-off. “Me personally, I’m not too bothered. Some of the players would probably like to get a feel for the pitch but it’s obviously the same for both teams and we’ve done this before, gone away and not training on the surface. We’ve got enough on our plate without worrying about the surface; hopefully it will be alright on the night.”
Reports in France over the weekend suggested certain parts of the pitch were being painted green, while extractor fans have been used in an attempt to improve the condition of the surface. There have been unseasonal levels of rain in Lille over the past fortnight, and the stadium’s retractable roof was used for Slovakia’s 2-1 win over Russia last week.
Several France and Switzerland players lost their footing on the surface during last night’s scoreless draw in Group A. The hosts’ manager, Didier Deschamps, was quite annoyed by the pitch, saying after the game: “It’s only the group stage and already it looks like that.”
This article was written by Guardian sport, for theguardian.com on Monday 20th June 2016 11.05 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010