Japanese players Eiji Kawashima and Maya Yoshida have expressed their dissatisfaction with the state of the Brisbane Stadium pitch after tonight’s 1-0 win over Iraq.
The pitch in Brisbane has come in for criticism from a number of quarters throughout the first week of the tournament, with China coach Alain Perrin describing it as “very, very, very bad”, while Australian star Robbie Kruse described it this week as a “disgrace”.
Speaking to Football Channel Asia after tonight’s match, played in hot and humid conditions, Yoshida didn’t mince his words, saying: “The pitch was a little bit terrible.”
His goalkeeper, Belgium-based Kawashima, expanded further when asked his opinion.
“We have played this pitch before in the qualification for the World Cup against Australia and that time also was not really good,” the 31 year old said.
The pitch in Brisbane was partially re-laid just one week before the tournament and has so far failed to hold up.
There was one player, however, who was happy with the state of the pitch. Japan superstar Keisuke Honda, who scored the winning goal from the penalty spot, said: “No it was good, I am satisfied.”
When contacted by Football Channel Asia, a spokesperson for the Local Organising Committee declared the pitch was playable.
“The playability of the Brisbane pitch has been tested and is at a good standard,” the spokesperson said via email.
“The aesthetics of the pitch are not ideal because of the relaying of sections of the pitch in early January. However the aesthetics are expected to improve during the tournament as the grass knits together and the colour improves.
“LOC management continues to liaise with stadium management and the AFC to ensure the pitch is prepared to the highest possible standard for the remaining Asian Cup matches in Brisbane.”
Brisbane Stadium will host two further group stage matches – Australia vs Korea Republic on January 17 and Iran vs UAE on January 19 – before hosting their final match, a quarter final, on January 22.