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Dutch to play on ´home turf´ as Basel replaces pitch

SoccerNews in European Championships 16 Jun 2008

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They say the grass is always greener on the other side, well the St Jakob Park stadium in Basel has taken that one step further.

After heavy rainfall rendered their pitch akin to a soggy potato patch they've decided to take drastic action by replacing every blade of grass with new turf from Holland in time for Wednesday's quarter-final.

A convoy of 26 refrigerated lorries has transported the green stuff from the Netherlands to be laid on Monday morning with 'Operation New Carpet' scheduled to be completed by Tuesday midday.

Three matches are still due to be played at the stadium — Wednesday's last eight clash between Portugal and Group B runners-up followed by another quarter-final on June 21 between the Dutch and Group D runners-up and then the June 25 semi-final.

Given the origin of the new surface the Dutch could be said to have unfair home advantage when they take on either Russia or Sweden in their quarter-final.

Those teams set to visit Basel will surely be relieved at the decision to re-lay the turf after the atrocious conditions which greeted Switzerland and Turkey when they played here last week.

Wellies rather than footballl boots were required to cope with the puddles which made the beautiful game well nigh impossible.

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