The field in the Amazon city of Manaus, where England and Italy will meet in a key Group D game Saturday, is in dismal condition, and it's only going to get worse.
And that's the word from the guy whose job it is to take care of the field.
"Frankly, Manaus is in bad shape," Carlos Botella, groundskeeper for the company responsible for the turf in Manaus and six other World Cup venues, told The Associated Press.
The field is patchy and dry in many places, which figures to make it play slow. That could actually work to the advantage of the U.S. team, though, which meets Portugal and the speedy Cristiano Ronaldo in Manaus on June 22.
Botella blamed the problems on access issues, rain and problems with algae when the grass was laid. Manaus is an isolated city in the middle of a rain forest, reachable primarily by airplane and boat.
Spain: The team is creeping up in age and its core of Barcelona players are coming off a forgettable season. Yet coach Vicente del Bosque expects his defending champions to hit form quickly against the Netherlands on Friday.
The rematch of the 2010 final, won by Spain 1-0, provides Group B with a riveting opener that could have an impact on each team's chances in Brazil.
Spain is the tournament's most experienced squad, which means key players such as Iker Casillas, Xavi Hernandez, and Xabi Alonso could be playing in their final major championship.
But those veterans are not ready for the winning run they started at Euro 2008 to come to an end in South America.
"Our team has a strong desire to go as far as possible and to defend this title, which won't be easy. The pressure motivates us," said Casillas.
Mexico: Despite a difficult qualifying that tore at the nation's confidence in El Tri, and brash coach Miguel Herrera's decision to leave a top player like striker Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez on the bench to start Friday's match against Cameroon, Mexico heads into its opener with high hopes.
Mexico has players who won an Under-17 world championship and the 2012 Olympic gold medal. Those victories had sparked talk of a "golden generation."
"The team has forged one lineup of making history, of doing something important," captain Rafael Marquez said.
Portugal: Good field or bad, Ronaldo could be sitting on the sideline when Portugal meets the United States. Limited by leg injuries to just part of one game over the last three weeks, Ronaldo trained for just 20 minutes Thursday, doing some exercises with his teammates before going off on his own to stretch. He then took a seat on a bench with an ice pack over his left knee, which has been diagnosed with tendinitis.
Portugal opens play Monday against Germany in Salvador.
Italy: First-choice Italy fullback Mattia De Sciglio hurt his right leg in a practice session and is being assessed for a muscle injury that could force him out of the World Cup.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.