CURITIBA, Brazil (AP) — Spain is worried that poor pitch conditions in Brazil could hurt its playing style as it tries to defend its World Cup title.
Spain often preaches the importance of a well-maintained playing surface for its quick-passing, possession-based game, which it said let it down in an opening 1-1 draw against Italy at Euro 2012.
The campaign to ensure that playing surfaces are up to scratch in Brazil has already begun.
Striker Diego Costa said "the field has to be wet and well-groomed" for Friday's opener against the Netherlands at Salvador's Arena Fonte Nova.
That is looking like a tall order at some venues.
Italy and England play Saturday at the Arena da Amazonia in Manaus, where the pitch is dry with white stripes visible.
"For the moment all we know is that the pitch is brown," Italian football federation vice president Demetrio Albertini said.
The grass being used at World Cup venues combines a mix of European and South American seeds — with the latter known for slowing the ball.
European "ray grass" grows vertically to provide a polished surface, while South American seeds grow coarser grass blades that also emerge horizontally.
"In a country this big with such a variety of climates it's difficult to maintain a certain standard," said Carlos Botella, a groundsman for Spanish company Royal Verd, which is managing seven of the 12 pitches, including at Salvador.
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