Italy v Croatia to go ahead despite rain-hit pitch: federation

AFP, Sunday 16 Nov 2014

Italian football federation (FIGC) officials have rejected claims that Italy's Euro 2016 qualifier against Croatia could be postponed over damage to the San Siro pitch due to heavy rain

Italy's Mario Balotelli (L) celebrates his goal against England with teammate Marco Verratti during their 2014 World Cup Group D soccer match at the Amazonia arena in Manaus June 14, 2014 (Photo: Reuters)

Incessant rain in Milan in recent days had prompted fears that Sunday's Group H clash, scheduled for 1945 GMT, would have to be postponed.

However Milan awoke to blazing sunshine on Sunday morning and an FIGC spokesman, Paolo Corbi, told AFP: "There are no fears over the game. It will go ahead as scheduled."

Croatia coach Niko Kovac had sparked fears over the staging of the game after his players completed a brief training session on a watery San Siro pitch on Saturday afternoon.

He told reporters: "If the pitch stays like this, the game can't go ahead. The ball doesn't bounce, it would be like a game of waterpolo."

FIGC spokesman Corbi admitted the pitch is "likely to be a little heavy", but he said: "There are no major problems. It is a sunny day today and the pitch will be ready in time for tonight's game."

Italy have won their opening three qualifiers but sit second in Group H behind Croatia on goal difference.

Italy's last victory over Croatia came months before the country entered World War II - when Vittorio Pozzo's side ran out 4-0 winners at Genoa's Luigi Ferraris stadium in April 1942.

In their six meetings since then, Croatia have won three and drawn three against Italy.

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