Thursday evening England takes to the pitch again, this time against Uruguay, unbeknown to most people though the field of battle this time will be a hybrid football pitch, 4% of the turf will be plastic.
This isn’t the first time this technology has been used in the world cup, but will be the first time it is utilised in the games in Brazil.
During the World Cup in South Africa only 2 stadiums used the blend of artificial and real grass; this was the first time fake grass had appeared in a world cup.
Artificial turf is used throughout the premiership and about two-thirds of the Premier League pitches are now hybrid.
While many footballers favoured the feel of natural turf – which after all had sufficed for the game since its infancy – it was inconsistent, notoriously difficult to maintain and periodically led to “quagmire” pitches.
The rebuilt Wembley stadium had perennial problems maintaining its natural grass, until it switched to a hybrid blend in 2010. It is meant to offer the best of both worlds – a tough, durable pitch, and the feel and “play” of natural grass.
Good luck to all the England players Thursday evening and let’s hope the feel of a more familiar pitch gives them the edge on players and teams who are not used to the artificial playing fields.