There are growing concerns over the state of the Wembley pitch with Croatia last night claiming it was like "playing on ice" because of the heavy rain in the past few days. At times their training session at the stadium descended into farce with their coach, Slaven Bilic, saying: " The pitch is no good. It's not what Wembley used to be like and is known for. I know it's three weeks since they had the NFL game but it's no good and it won't be good for England either."
A Wembley Stadium spokeswoman insisted that the pitch would be in the " best possible condition". She said that the head groundsman, Steve Welch, and his team had been "working round the clock" since last month's American football game between the New York Giants and Miami Dolphins which had left deep tears all over the pitch.
The surface will be replaced next month, at a cost of more than £100,000, but the spokeswoman said this was already scheduled. Because Wembley is not a seeded surface, it becomes unusually susceptible in wet conditions and the Croatians claimed that the turf was already "coming off" during yesterday's training session.