England vs. Italy World Cup Stadium Labelled 'Horrific' as Problems Mount Up

Nick Akerman@NakermanFeatured ColumnistMarch 12, 2014

FILE - This is a Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013  file photo workers erect the roof of the Arena Amazonia in Manaus, Brazil.  Manaus is the most remote of Brazil’s World Cup cities. Of all places visited by the World Cup in 84 years of traveling the globe, the Amazon city of Manaus is arguably the most wild and wacky, a new frontier for football’s showcase. (AP Photo/Ferdinand Ostrop, File)
Ferdinand Ostrop/Associated Press

Brazil's World Cup stadium in Manaus, the venue for England's opening-game showdown with Italy, has been labelled "horrific" after problems plagued a test event in the Amazon heartland.

Local fan Francisco Alves touched upon issues after attending the arena's practice match, as reported by Ed Riley of the Daily Star:

It was horrific. There were not enough stewards to help supporters. It was chaos.

I got in line for some food with 15 minutes left in the first half but the second half was about to start and I still couldn't order.

MANAUS, BRAZIL - DECEMBER 10:  Construction continues of the Arena Amazonia stadium venue for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil on December 10, 2013 in Manaus, Brazil.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images,)
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Riley also detailed a wide range of further problems, highlighting there is plenty of work to do before the Three Lions battle against Italy's Azzurri on June 14:

Angry fans told of leaks in the roof, unfinished toilets, tickets sold for non-existent seats and 30-minute queues to buy food.

Others said building materials still littered the £174million Arena Amazonia at Manaus in northern Brazil’s steamy rainforest.

And many supporters in wheelchairs complained that they couldn’t reach their seats because of the rubble.

This shambolic trial of the Amazon Arena comes shortly after workers went on strike after a third construction-related death marred the stadium's completion, per Mike Dawes of the Daily Mail.

MANAUS, BRAZIL - DECEMBER 10:  A general view of the Arena Amazonia stadium venue for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil on December 10, 2013 in Manaus, Brazil.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images,)
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

After the second accident at the end of last year, safety on the building site was scaled at "zero" by worker Jose Aristoteles de Souza Filho, reported by Brazilian website G1 News (h/t Jonathan Watts of The Guardian).

England boss Roy Hodgson outlined Manaus as "the place ideally to avoid" before the World Cup draw, analysis that led local mayor Arthur Virgilio to retaliate by saying, "We would also prefer that England doesn't come. We hope to get a better team and a coach who is more sensible and polite," per the Associated Press via The Guardian.

Of course, England were quickly paired with the location during their opening Group D match.

Upon visiting Manaus on a mission to relieve tensions, Hodgson said the stadium is "very good" during an interview on Sky Sports' The Footballers' Football Show, per Liam Prenderville of the Mirror.

MANAUS, BRAZIL - FEBRUARY 17: In this handout image provided by the FA England manager Roy Hodgson visits the Amazon Theatre Opera House on February 17, 2014 in Manaus, Brazil.  The FA manager went to the 'meeting of waters' in boat trip, to see  the conf
Handout/Getty Images

Teams including Portugal, USA and Switzerland will also play matches in the 40,000 capacity venue that hasn't been allocated a match beyond the group stage.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter criticised Brazil's preparation process back in January, as reported by Swiss newspaper 24 Heures (h/t The Guardian).

"No country has been so far behind in preparations since I have been at Fifa even though it is the only host nation which has had so much time - seven years - in which to prepare," said Blatter.

COSTA DO SAUIPE, BAHIA - DECEMBER 05:  FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter attends the FIFA Executive Committee Meeting Press Conference during a media day ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Draw at Costa do Sauipe Resort on December 5, 2013 in Costa do Sauipe
Buda Mendes/Getty Images

Brazil is quickly running out of time to sort its plethora of problems ahead of the big kick-off. The eyes of the world will descend upon areas such as Manaus when the tournament begins, suggesting there will be nowhere for the nation to hide if something drastic goes wrong.

Although test events are useful for working out the logistics of each stadium, organisers must quickly learn from their mistakes if the festivities are going to run smoothly.