Maracana pitch readied for World Cup

Rio de Janeiro: A rejuvenation process in preparation for next year`s FIFA World Cup was started on the turf of Brazil`s iconic Maracana stadium.

The move follows criticism of the pitch`s condition amid a heavy match schedule since its June reopening, reported Xinhua.

Groundsman Paulo Azeredo said an intricate grass renewal programme was started last week.

"We are going to start by removing excess grass so that re-growth can occur," Azeredo said. "Then we will begin an aeration process before new fertilizer is planted."

The Maracana has staged 52 matches since its June 2 re-inauguration after a three-year, $500 million revamp.

The venue will host seven World Cup matches, including the final July 13.