After the positives of Sergio Busquets and Diego Llorente, Spain fears new cases … The preparation for the Euro is in any case well truncated.
Clearly, Spain can never quietly prepare for major competitions! After the Julen Lopetegui affair at the 2018 World Cup, La Roja is now affected by a possible cluster of covid-19. On Sunday, we learned that Sergio Busquets was positive, while on Tuesday night, it was the turn of Diego Llorente, the Leeds defender, to be announced positive. Two cases which, as feared by many Spanish media, risk being followed by other positives, especially since last Saturday, the players had a day of rest and in particular ate together in a restaurant. Not to mention their daily cohabitation at the Las Rozas training center …
What clearly disrupt the preparation set up by Luis Enrique, since Tuesday night, it was the hopes who played the friendly against Lithuania (won by a score of 4-0). The international A are indeed all in isolation, and train in small groups. Not ideal, especially given the context of La Roja, where there is very little certainty at the level of the starting eleven, with many players who have played very little together. The return to normality is not expected until Thursday or Friday, and in the event of a new positive, it will be postponed. Which is not ideal, knowing that the match against Sweden, also affected by several cases, is scheduled for Monday 19h GMT …
The vaccine controversy
To deal with other possible cases, Luis Enrique has concocted a parallel group, composed of six players that we have regularly seen with La Roja in recent years, and eleven of the U21s who played the last Euro Espoirs and the match against to Lithuania. All to have elements ready in case of new packages, while the Iberian national coach has until Saturday to make any changes. In case of new positives, he will be able to draw from this group B. But once the competition has started, he will no longer be able to call for replacements if new players become infected, which makes the fans in Spain tremble.
On the other side of the Pyrenees, many have proposed an express vaccination for members of La Roja. Some, playing abroad in particular, have already been vaccinated, while others are immune because they had it during the season. But other voices were raised against this proposal, claiming that football players did not have to be given priority. In Spain, vaccination is progressing very well (42% of the population is vaccinated), but it is done by age group, and excluding essential workers, people who are part of the same generations as the players are not yet there. access.
The match against Sweden postponed?
However, the government has announced that all Spanish athletes who will go to Tokyo for the Olympics will have the right to be vaccinated, which goes badly among football fans and with the Spanish Federation, which had pushed for a vaccination of the Spanish expedition even before the announcement of the first positive. The latter also believe that this is an exceptional case, since it is not a question of vaccinating a club but the selection, which is an institution representing the country. And at the authorities, we pass the hot potato. The public health commission did not want to work on this file on Tuesday and it is the inter-territorial health committee which will decide during the day on Wednesday.
A vaccination that arrives late, however, and will a priori have no effect in the event that new players have become infected in recent days. Monday’s meeting against Sweden could even be postponed for a maximum of 48 hours in the event that the two selections were to be decimated by new positives. Also be careful that this scenario does not occur within many other teams involved in this Euro, while the Portuguese have also been placed in isolation after the friendly against the Spanish neighbors …