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MOSCOW, June 16. /ITAR-TASS/. Gearing up for their first encounter at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, the national teams of the United States and Ghana are set to battle a most likely ‘third-party foe’ in the form of heavy rains, which maintain a tight grip over the north-eastern city of Natal - the venue of the teams’ upcoming match on Monday night.
According to earlier media reports, heavy rains, which had been pouring since Friday, turning torrential at times, flooded the streets of the coastal city of one million, triggered a small landslide, forced local evacuations and disrupted some of the scheduled festivities for football fans.
The match between the Americans and Ghanaians at the 45,000-seat Estadio das Dunas in Natal is scheduled to kick off at 7.00 pm local time (10.00 pm GMT) and, according to weather forecasts, the rains will be still showering at that time, testing for durability not only the footballers, but the field and the sewage system of the newly built stadium as well.
"We are looking at off and on showers today and tomorrow, including at kickoff time," Weather.com quoted its meteorologist Nick Wiltgen as saying on Sunday. “Along with the rain, the two teams will see high temperatures from 81 to 84 degrees (Fahrenheit), and lows near 72."
According to Weather.com, the area saw more rain since Friday and until now as it usually gets throughout the entire month of June.
Although the playing surface at the Arena das Dunas was already tested by the soaking-wet match on Friday between Mexico and Cameroon, the stadium’s pitch is under a high risk of turning into slop by Monday night’s US-Ghana game.
USA Today cited a local emergencies official that the natural calamity caused no casualties so far, while all emergencies services in Natal did everything possible for the World Cup to progress in line with the schedule.
“Our teams are alert and ready to avoid accidents and to not have the city come to a stop due to this,” USAToday.com quoted Christiano Couceiro, a spokesman for the fire department, as saying on Sunday.