Artificial pitches have come a long way from the Astroturf surfaces played on at Luton, Oldham and QPR in the 1980s.
But England will still be taking a step into the unknown when they walk out onto the synthetic surface of the Luzhniki stadium to face Russia on Wednesday afternoon. They are warming up for the game by training on a £1m replica at the Blessed Thomas Holford Catholic College in Altrincham.
The artificial grass, which is approved by Uefa, is made up of tall, wide fibres with an infill of silicone sand and rubber, which doubles as the base.
It is a world away from the pitches of a generation ago, but is it a close enough replica of grass for it to be suitable for such a crucial Euro 2008 qualifier?
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