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Basel pitch is a problem says Gomes, not so Scolari

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 18 Jun 2008

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There were mixed messages from the Portugal camp about the new pitch of freshly-laid Dutch grass at Basel's St-Jakob-Park stadium ahead of Thursday's Euro 2008 quarter-final against Germany.

While Portugal captain Nuno Gomes said he was very concerned about the hurriedly-laid replacement turf, coach Luiz Felipe Scolari applauded UEFA's decision to improve the Basel pitch.

“I didn't like what I saw when we arrived at the stadium,” said Benfica forward Gomes.

“We will train on the pitch this afternoon (Wednesday) and I am told the pitch will be 100 percent, so I am hoping it won't effect the game.”

European football's governing body took the decision to replace the grass after the pitch cut up badly following a torrential downpour during the Switzerland-Turkey Group A clash on June 11.

New grass was imported on pallets from the Netherlands in 26 refrigerated trucks with the St. Jakob-Park stadium set to stage two quarter-finals this week and a semi-final on June 25.

UEFA is picking up the 200,000 euro (300,000 dollars) bill for the operation and Chelsea-bound Scolari applauded the initiative.

“We have to see this from a different angle, if UEFA, with their technicians, decide the pitch should be changed as team coaches we have applaud the decision,” said Chelsea-bound Scolari.

“UEFA wanted to present a pitch which was better than in the past.

“Maybe, the pitch might have one or two little problems, but that is the same for both sides.

“The decision didn't harm anybody and they used some common sense to try and improve things.

“It's not because of the pitch that we will win or lose the game.”

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