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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Moscow Pitch No Concern

LONDON -- England is unconcerned about playing next week's crucial Euro 2008 qualifier against Russia on Luzhniki stadium's artificial surface, the Football Association said Tuesday.

Media reports suggested that the Russian Football Federation had changed their minds about upgrading the surface for the October 17 match to maximize home advantage in a match they have to win.

An FA source said, however, that England coach Steve McClaren and his staff had "no reservations about playing on the surface.

"We have sent two delegations to Moscow to see the pitch, and we've done our homework," an FA spokesman said. "It's not an issue as far as we are concerned."

"For now the team is purely focused on the Estonia game at Wembley on Saturday."

The FA has two pitches for the players to train on before departing for the Russian capital. One is at Arsenal's London Colney training ground, while the other is at a school in Altrincham, in the north of England.

"The one at Altrincham is identical to the one in Moscow and the players will use it on Monday," the FA said.

Russia's federation has denied that it had ever made a formal decision to upgrade the pitch despite a spokesman for FieldTurf, which installed the surface, saying they had on BBC television's "Inside Sport" on Monday.

Should England beat Estonia Saturday, it will just need to avoid defeat in its final two matches against Russia and group leader Croatia to reach next year's finals.