Let's move on from turf debate, say Women's World Cup players

Vancouver (AFP) - US star Abby Wambach has been vocal in her criticism of artificial turf being used for the first time at the Women's World Cup in Canada.

But heading into the knockout rounds on Saturday the thorny question that led to a lawsuit ahead of the tournament seems to have lost steam.

"This question about artificial turf I don't want to hear about it any more," said South Korea's star striker Ji So-yun ahead of Sunday's game against France.

"We just want to focus on our performance now," said the Chelsea LFC player.

Korean coach Yoon Deok-yeo said it was up to the players to adapt to the surface which FIFA president Sepp Blatter has described as "the future of football".

"We need to adapt to the environment," said Yoon. "Artificial turf has its own characteristics compared to natural, but we can't blame our results on the turf."

Blatter has claimed that "most countries around the world will play on artificial turf one day because it can be used 24 hours a day, seven days a week".

But being forced to play women's football's top event on the surface, which had drawn complaints over injury worries and true rolls and bounces, irked the women given the men's World Cup is played on natural grass.

It sparked the lawsuit against world governing body FIFA which was withdrawn before the tournament got under way.

Wambach rekindled the debate in Canada when she blamed the US's first goalless draw in their seven World Cup appearances on the surface.

"I think that there are a lot more goals in this tournament if it weren't for the turf, having probably been on the losing end of that battle a few times now," Wambach said.

"The natural turf was easier for us," agreed Aya Miyama, captain of reigning champions Japan. "The ball movement could be predicted. In this case dribbling is difficult."

But the surface did not stop Germany notching up ten goals against Ivory Coast, while Ecuador conceded 17.

"We have demonstrated that you can score, so I don't want to make this all about the turf," said German midfielder Melanie Behringer.

"The ball acts differently, flies differently. But of course you can score."

Swiss coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg believes the surface has no impact on the quality of the game.

"It's fine. We just saw a great match between teams playing a high level on this artificial turf and this is what matters," she said after Switzerland's loss to Japn.

US coach Jill Ellis added: "The game is different on turf, but it's the same for everybody.

"And that's kind of been the mantra for our team. I would love the surfaces to be more wet, I think the surfaces are very dry. It's turf, it is what it is. But I still think we can make the surfaces play faster by putting water on them. And that's for every team. I think every team would appreciate that.

"Is it different? Yes. I mean, she's (Wambach) played a lot, a lot of games, so only she can attest to how different it feels, but for me, it's just the focus of we've got to get it done, period."