Covid chaos disrupts England and Scotland at Euro 2020

·4-min read

England's bid to win their Euro 2020 group has been thrown into chaos ahead of Tuesday's clash with the Czech Republic after Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell were forced to isolate following exposure to an opponent who has Covid-19.

Mount and Chilwell embraced Scotland midfielder Billy Gilmour, their club-mate at Chelsea, on the Wembley pitch after England's 0-0 draw with Scotland on Friday.

Gilmour was revealed on Monday to have tested positive for the virus and although the England duo have since tested negative, the close contact means they must remain in self-isolation up to and including June 28.

For Scotland, the influential Gilmour must quarantine for 10 days and has been ruled out of their decisive game against Croatia in Glasgow on Tuesday.

England manager Gareth Southgate will be deprived of midfielder Mount, who has started both of the team's group matches, and left-back Chilwell, yet to play in the tournament, against the Czechs at Wembley.

England are already assured of a last-16 berth, but Mount and Chilwell could also be ruled out of that tie, depending on where England finish in the group.

If England beat the Czech Republic and win the group, their first knockout game would be on June 29, but if they finish second, it would be the previous day.

A third-place finish would mean they would play either this Sunday, or on June 29.

Southgate acknowledged the Covid issue was the worst possible preparation to play a Czech team also certain to advance to the last 16.

England are behind the group-leading Czechs on goal difference and must win to ensure they finish first.

Southgate's side, who beat Croatia 1-0 in their opener, have been underwhelming so far and were booed off following the drab stalemate against Scotland.

"I can't say it isn't disruptive. We don't really know at this point whether they might be OK for Tuesday, or they could be out for 10 days," Southgate said.

The remaining members of the Scotland squad have passed lateral flow tests, following their negative PCR tests from Sunday.

But the loss of the 20-year-old Gilmour is a heavy blow following his man-of-the-match display against England in his first Scotland start.

Scotland, playing in their first major tournament since 1998, will make the knockout stage of an international competition for the first time if they beat Croatia.

- Wembley capacity boosted for finale -

The British government has announced that more than 60,000 fans will be allowed to attend the semi-finals and final of Euro 2020 at Wembley with attendance increased to 75 percent of capacity.

The matches will see the largest crowds assembled at a sporting event in Britain for more than 15 months, with numbers previously strictly limited due to the coronavirus pandemic.

All ticket holders at Wembley will need to follow strict entry requirements, including negative Covid-19 test or proof of full vaccination.

"The last 18 months have taught us, both on and off the pitch, how integral fans are to the fabric of the game," said UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin.

"This tournament has been a beacon of hope to reassure people that we are returning to a more normal way of life and this is a further step along that road."

Earlier on Tuesday, UEFA rejected plans by the city of Munich to light the Allianz Arena in rainbow colours for the match between Germany and Hungary. The southern German city's mayor wanted to make a gesture in support of the LGBTIQ community and to protest at a law passed by the Hungarian government.

"UEFA is a politically and religiously neutral organisation," said European football's governing body in a statement.

"Given the political context of this request -- a message aimed at a decision taken by the Hungarian national parliament -- UEFA must refuse."

Munich mayor Dieter Reiter slammed UEFA's decision as "shameful" and announced plans to decorate other city landmarks in rainbow colours in defiance.

"I find it shameful that UEFA forbids us to send a sign for cosmopolitanism, tolerance, respect and solidarity with the people of the LGBTIQ community," he said.

UEFA had previously opted not to take disciplinary action against Germany skipper Manuel Neuer for wearing a rainbow-coloured captain's armband.

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