Soccer

Poland-England match off due to waterlogged pitch

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WARSAW, Poland (AP)

The World Cup qualifier between Poland and England was postponed and moved to Wednesday because of a waterlogged pitch in Warsaw.

Heavy rain left large pools of water across the pitch at National Stadium ahead of kickoff in Tuesday's game.

Stadium officials decided not to close the retractable roof over the stadium despite the inclement forecast, and FIFA representatives decided to postpone the match after two pitch inspections.

The match was rescheduled for 5 p.m. local time (1500 GMT) on Wednesday, with the teams allowed to change their lineups. FIFA said the roof will be closed this time.

''I have said that the timing today was best for us. We were hoping to play today, so this is not a good situation,'' Poland coach Waldemar Fornalik said. ''We were suggesting Nov. 14, but the English were stubborn and consistent, and they wanted very much to play tomorrow. There are also FIFA rules that say that a cancelled match should be the following day.''

England coach Roy Hodgson said the pitch is still ''in a very poor condition.''

''(It) will need a lot of attention if it's to be playable tomorrow afternoon,'' Hodgson said. ''We are very unhappy about it, but what can you do about these acts of God. No one can decide if it can rain.''

Poland goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak said it was a ''very sorry situation.''

''It was a kind of shock because we've never experienced anything like that, especially in an international match for such high stakes,'' he said. ''We don't know what the pitch will be like tomorrow. It may still be in bad shape, only without the water. It is strange that no one is doing anything to the pitch now.''

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AP Sports Writer Rob Harris in London contributed to this report.



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