Coach Luis Enrique called up 11 players from Spain’s under-21 squad to train separately from the main team in a parallel bubble. They will join six other players who had already been called up after captain Sergio Busquets tested positive.
Diego Llorente becomes second Spain player to test positive for coronavirus (Courtesy: Reuters)
- Spain captain Sergio Busquets had tested positive on Sunday
- Busquets, and llorente had left the team’s camp
- Spain will face Sweden in their Euro 2020 Group E opener on Monday
Five days before the Euro 2020 opener against Sweden, Luis Enrique’s Spain has hit a significant setback as defender Diego Llorente tested positive for Covid-19.
Coach Luis Enrique has expanded its parallel squad after Llorente became the second player infected with coronavirus ahead of the European Championship. Enrique had called up 11 players from Spain’s under-21 squad to train separately from the main team in a parallel bubble. Llorente and Busquests had to leave the team’s training camp.
Llorente’s positive result was made public not long after Spain’s under-21 squad beat Lithuania 4-0 on Tuesday night in Madrid in a match that was supposed to be played by the senior team as its final warm-up before “La Roja” opens its Euro 2020 campaign against Sweden on Monday in Seville.
Players who test positive will stay in isolation for at least 10 days, meaning both Busquets and Llorente will miss the opener against Sweden. It would also be unlikely they would be fit for Spain’s second match against Poland on June 19. The team’s final Group E match will be against Slovakia on June 23, also in Seville.
After Busquets’ positive test, Spain called up six senior players — Kepa Arrizabalaga, Raul Albiol, Carlos Soler, Brais Mendez, Pablo Fornals and Rodrigo Moreno — to form a parallel training bubble so they could be called upon if needed.
Unlike other European countries which opened vaccination to all adults, Spain has kept a rigorous age-based calendar. Currently, people in the 50-59 and 40-49 age brackets are getting vaccines in different regions.
Sports Minister Jose Manuel Rodriguez Uribes said he expected the players would be vaccinated on Wednesday.
Luis Enrique has until Saturday to make changes to his initial list in case of injuries or Covid-19 cases. He only selected 24 players instead of the 26 allowed for each national team at Euro 2020, saying he didn’t want to call up too many players who would not likely be used at the tournament.
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