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Gonzalo Higuain criticizes state of pitch in New Jersey

Nov 16, 2013, 1:35 PM EDT

Argentina players say that uneven turf at MetLife Stadium created hazardous conditions during their draw with Ecuador on Friday night.

Argentina and Ecuador played out a drab 0-0 draw on Friday night in New Jersey, but Gonzalo Higuaín is more concerned about the pitch at MetLife Stadium. The venue normally plays host to American football games, including the home games of the New York Giants and Jets. But that, according to Higuaín, made it unacceptable for a soccer match that, despite lacking Lionel Messi, included some of the world’s brightest talents.

Higuaín, quoted in Argentina sports outlet Olè, was upset with the conditions in New Jersey, where chunks of turf had been laid over the artificial playing surface. The Napoli forward, who went down with a knee injury but appeared to shake it off, stated that conditions made the players’ feet sink more than normal, creating hazardous playing conditions. The field was, Higuaín said, in no condition to play on.

Ezequiel Lavezzi agreed with his Argentina teammate, saying that the turf was irregular, which caused the ball to slow down. The PSG attacker felt both sides were lucky not to have anyone seriously injured.

It’s now on to St. Louis for Argentina, where they will face Bosnia and Hercegovina on Tuesday. Higuaín, Lavezzi and their teammates will be hoping that the biggest issue there will be faint traces of lines left over from baseball season. The same goes for the fans of their clubs, most of whom are already fed up with what seem to be pointless friendlies. Putting players at risk won’t endear FIFA to anyone.

  1. mikeevergreen - Nov 16, 2013 at 1:42 PM

    The Argies are just laying out the excuses for Tuesday when BIH busts them in the chops. BIH second-leading scorer Vedad Ibisevic grew up there, so it’s going to hav a Sarajevo feel to it..

    • bear06 - Nov 17, 2013 at 10:34 AM

      It doesn’t matter if it’s going to have a Sarajevo feel to it, because Argentina who are one of the best football nations in the world will still win easily.

  2. mvktr2 - Nov 16, 2013 at 5:39 PM

    “The same goes for the fans of their clubs, most of whom are already fed up with what seem to be pointless friendlies. Putting players at risk won’t endear FIFA to anyone.”

    I hate to be Dr Obvious but aside from that statement being a matter of opinion rather than fact (even if I generally agree with it) the reality is that the players are to blame, not FIFA, as it is they whom choose to play for their national teams. There are instances of players refusing call-ups and no player has to play for anyone aside from their club, fifa is simply a facilitator of what most players and fans desire. Personally I think nationalism is disgusting but I still follow my national team simply because it’s there and it’s compelling.

  3. wyrm1 - Nov 17, 2013 at 11:41 AM

    Of course the field at MetLife was a disaster, since they had to lay sod over a turf field in the middle of the fall. If the national federations cared about their players, they would not schedule games for venues where you KNOW there aren’t going to be good field conditions (domes, sod fields over turf with no prep time, etc…).

    However, the money is more important then the safety of the players or the quality of play. Until that changes you will hear these same complaints.

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