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Italy hopeful of fulfilling Irish U21 fixture following Covid quarantine in Iceland

The Irish squad left Dublin today for a game now shrouded in uncertainty.

Irish U21s manager Jim Crawford.
Irish U21s manager Jim Crawford.
Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Updated Oct 9th 2020, 8:38 PM

THE IRISH U21s face an anxious wait to see if Tuesday’s European Championship qualifier against Italy will go ahead. 

Italy were due to face Iceland in a qualifier this afternoon, but the game has been postponed over three positive Covid-19 cases among the travelling Italian squad: two players and a member of the backroom staff. 

The Icelandic health authorities called off the game, and have placed the Italian squad in quarantine, putting Italy’s clash with Ireland on Tuesday in doubt. 

The Italian squad this afternoon got permission to leave Iceland, though did so on two separate planes: one carrying the Covid-positive members of the travelling party, and the other those who are Covid free.

Their postponed game with Iceland will be played in November.

Italy are eager to fulfil the fixture against Ireland, as a failure to do so means they may face forfeiting the fixture. They will test their players again tomorrow, and will call up replacements for any squad members to test positive. 

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Uefa ultimately defer to the decision of the local health authority, but if the game gets the go-ahead, Uefa expect a squad with 13 fit players – one of whom is a goalkeeper – to fulfil a fixture. 

The Irish squad departed for Pisa this afternoon, with the game due to kick off at 4.30pm on Tuesday.

Ireland are top of their group for the U21 European Championships, three points clear of Italy having played a game more. With Stephen Kenny promoted to the senior job, his assistant Jim Crawford has stepped up to take the manager’s role.

The tournament itself has been rescheduled because of Covid-19 and it will announced be played in two stages. The group stage will take place from 24 to 31 March 2021, with the knockout stage slated for 31 May to 6 June 2021. 

Updated at 20.38 

About the author:

Gavin Cooney

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