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Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Worries mount over Port Elizabeth pitch

Soccernet staff

England and Solvenia have been prevented from carrying out their final training sessions at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth as FIFA officials try to prevent further damage to a pitch which has been the subject of widespread criticism.

Experts have warned the turf appears unable to cope with four matches in nine days, the last of which was Chile's victory over Switzerland on Monday.

Officially, heavy rain is blamed for the poor state of the ground, but others counter too much sand has been used which has made the top loose and the playing surface heavy.

"There is no overnight fix for this sort of thing and it's too late before the game to resolve the excess of sand," a South African pitch expert told The Independent.

"The only thing you can do is to make sure you give the pitch a heavy roll and try to get the sand to compact." England delayed their flight for a few hours to allow them to train at their base rather than head to Port Elizabeth, but the team may be at an advantage having been used to playing on a much-maligned surface at Wembley Stadium.

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