The Arena Amazonia is in a race against time to be ready for its opening World Cup fixture, England versus Italy.

The pitch at the Manaus stadium had areas of brown, dry grass with some interior areas still being frantically cleaned with under 48 hours to go until kick-off.

Some workers could be seen around the stadium wearing dust masks as they tidy up the site, but the dressing rooms have been completed as has the medical centre.

Much of the area outside the ground remains far from completion. On Thursday, tarmac was still being laid down in certain areas.

FIFA officials allowed tours of the stadium on Thursday, but fell short of allowing pitch-side access. Both England and Italy are expected to train on the pitch on Friday.

In a statement, football’s governing body said: “The pitch in Manaus has been undergoing treatment in preparation for the World Cup. Over the last three months, mitigation procedures have been put in place and there continues to be significant improvement.

“Our pitch experts and those from the local organising committee are satisfied that the pitch will be ready for training and the matches.”

Posted on 13/06/2014