Football: Pitch will be set for Brazil vs Japan

Football: Pitch will be set for Brazil vs Japan
Juventus team training session ahead of their friendly soccer match against Singapore Selection at the Singapore Sports Hub on 15 August 2014.

SINGAPORE - As of yesterday, ticket sales for the highly-anticipated international friendly between Brazil and Japan at the National Stadium on Oct 14 reached the 38,000 mark.

Malcolm Thorpe, vice-president of sports development and events at World Sport Group (WSG), is confident that all 51,000 tickets for the glamour game will be sold out.

He also guarantees that the National Stadium pitch, which came under heavy criticism for its sandy condition during the Singapore Selection versus Juventus match last month - the first football match to be played at the venue - will be in top shape.

Speaking to The New Paper yesterday, Thorpe said a team is working around the clock to ensure that the playing surface will be ready to stage the battle between Asia's No. 1 side and Brazil, the record five-time world champions who are regarded as the greatest football nation.

The majority of the 27,388 fans who watched Singapore Selection take on Italian giants Juventus at the 55,000-capacity National Stadium on Aug 16 were in awe of the new facility, which is the centrepiece of the Singapore Sports Hub at Kallang.

But there were plenty of complaints over the state of the sandy pitch.

Events promoters WSG - part of the Sports Hub consortium - later explained that the Desso Grassmaster (hybrid) pitch, seen in top stadiums like Real Madrid's Bernabeu and Manchester United's Old Trafford, needed time to mature.

When TNP visited the venue yesterday, the pitch looked in much better condition, with only a few brown patches in the centre.

Said Thorpe: "There was a lot of criticism of the pitch after the Juventus game, but I think, aesthetics aside, the pitch played out well.

"The nature of the Desso pitch is that it provides a stable, even playing surface.

"The pitch is growing in, and with seven weeks (from the Juventus game) for it to mature, it should be ready.

"We have also acted on the criticism, which is why we offered a deal for this (Brazil-Japan) game."

Tickets for the Brazil-Japan clash range between $40 and $180, and fans who bought tickets for the game that featured Serie A giants Juventus received a $20 discount on any category of ticket ($10 for children), if they made purchase before Sept 17.

Japan, the reigning Asian champions, will be the "home" side for the match, which is part of the Gillette Brazil World Tour and kicks off at 6.45pm on the Tuesday.

Before heading to Singapore, the Blue Samurai will host Jamaica on Oct 10, while the Selecao will face deadly rivals Argentina in Beijing on Oct 11.

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