‘Irreparable’ Lille Euro 2016 pitch relaid

Lille (France) (AFP) – The playing surface at Lille’s Euro 2016 stadium was replaced on Thursday after severe criticism of the state of the pitch.

UEFA admitted the pitch had suffered “irreversible damage” due to severe weather in recent weeks.

The 50,000 capacity stadium will host Germany’s last 16 tie with Slovakia on Sunday and a quarter-final clash on July 1.

Italy coach Antonio Conte slammed the surface as not “up to hosting a European Championship match” before his side’s 1-0 defeat to Ireland on Wednesday.

French boss Didier Deschamps said it was “shameful” to have played France’s 0-0 draw with Switzerland this week on the Lille pitch where several players slipped on the turf.

Pitch problems have dogged the tournament with Deschamps also labelling the surface in Marseille “a disaster” after the hosts’ 2-0 win over Albania.

Several pre-match training sessions which normally take place at the stadium the day before a game have had to be relocated to allow the grass extra time to recover between matches.

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