MADRID – Spain celebrated another round of negative test results on Wednesday and welcomed the announcement that the team would be vaccinated before the Euro.
The news came after “La Roja” expanded its parallel squad to 17 players after the detection of two cases of coronavirus this week. Defender Diego Llorente tested positive on Tuesday and captain Sergio Busquets on Sunday. Both players left the team’s training ground and were placed in isolation.
Coach Luis Enrique called up 11 players from the Spanish Under-21 team to join six other players who had already been training separately from the main team.
No other player has tested positive so far, the Spanish soccer federation said. All players and staff members tested negative after undergoing UEFA-mandated tests on Wednesday. The players of the parallel team also tested negative.
“It’s an unpleasant situation for everyone,” defender Jordi Alba, who takes over as captain of the team, told Radio Marca. “What happened to Busquets was regrettable. I hope you will be back with us soon. We have been complying with all the protocols and we have to continue adapting. Hopefully there won’t be more of this in the future. “
Health Minister Carolina Darias said the Spanish Armed Forces would administer the shots to the players. He said the Spanish federation would provide more details on when they would receive their jabs, but confirmed that players will need two shots, meaning the seconds will likely not be administered for a few weeks.
“We have acted as quickly as possible and we believe it is an important decision,” said Darias, adding that his ministry received a letter from the Sports Minister on Friday asking for vaccines for the soccer team.
Some in Spain have criticized the delay in vaccinating the team, while others have complained that the players are receiving their vaccinations earlier than other Spaniards who are still waiting. Currently, only those over 45 years of age are authorized to be vaccinated in Spain.
“We don’t have to say anything,” Alba said. “If they tell us that we are going to receive the vaccine, then we will vaccinate it. If they tell us we won’t get the vaccine, then we won’t get the vaccine. “
Llorente’s positive result was made public shortly after the Spanish under-21 team beat Lithuania 4-0 on Tuesday night in Madrid in a match that the senior team was supposed to play as their last warm-up before. that “La Roja” opens its Euro 2020 Campaign against Sweden on Monday in Seville.
All but one of the 20 players called up for that game, Bryan Gil, had played for the senior team before. The friendly counted as a first team match, with players in international matches and coach Luis de la Fuente’s official debut with the main squad. The last time Spain had 10 players in a senior international debut was in 1941, against Portugal, after the team had not played since the Spanish Civil War broke out in 1936.
The Spanish federation has not said whether Busquets or Llorente will be eliminated from the squad.
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, and said he did not want to summon too many players who probably would not be used in the tournament.
Among those left out was veteran captain Sergio Ramos, a defender like Llorente, who had been out of the game for most of the second half of the season due to injuries and a spell with COVID-19.
Players who test positive must remain in isolation for at least 10 days, which means that both Busquets and Llorente will miss the first match against Sweden. It would also be unlikely that they would be fit for Spain’s second game against Poland on June 19. The team’s last Group E match will be against Slovakia on June 23, also in Seville.
Two Swedish players also tested positive for COVID-19: Juventus winger Dejan Kulusevski and Bologna midfielder Mattias Svanberg.
The euros start on Friday when Italy receives Turkey.