New Zealand will no longer fly into the United Kingdom to play against England’s national team over the increasing rate of coronavirus cases.
The Three Lions of England were scheduled to play a friendly match against the national soccer team of New Zealand during Fifa international break. The match was meant to take place at the Wembley Stadium in November. However, on Wednesday, October 14, New Zealand Football chief executive Andrew Pragnell said in a statement that the plan has been abandoned.
The announcement came less than 24 hours after a series of new confirmed cases of the virus in some soccer national teams across the world. One of the most famous of such is that of Juventus talisman Cristiano Ronaldo who tested positive for the virus on Tuesday, less than two days after he represented Portugal against France in the UEFA Nations League.
In the match which ended 0-0, Ronaldo was in very close contact with Paris Saint Germain talisman Kylian Mbappe which means that the Frenchman must undertake a coronavirus test and probably observe self-isolation for a couple of days before he could be allowed to reunite with PSG’s squad.
Also, coronavirus cases among players in Premier League clubs across the United Kingdom have been on the rise. Between September and October, Liverpool football club alone had at least three players that tested positive for the virus. Manchester City, Tottenham, and a couple of other clubs in the league have recorded a couple of coronavirus cases.
Hence, the FA in New Zealand feels the rising cases of coronavirus in Europe especially among players would not make it ideal for a friendly match of such magnitude to take place in November.
New Zealand Football CEO said: “The shifting nature of travel restrictions and commercial flight availability under Covid means that we do not have the certainty we could assemble a squad at Wembley…
“Looking at the restrictions currently in place, as well as the rising number of Covid-19 cases across Europe, it just isn’t possible to put a competitive squad together”.
England soccer team has been very busy during the ongoing international break as the soccer team has played one international friendly against Wales which ended 3-0 in favor of England.
The Three Lions were also in action in the Nations League against Belgium which ended 2-1 in favor of England. The team will play against Denmark at 19:45 today, October 14.
While the New Zealand soccer team decided to play safe by not getting involved in any soccer match amid the coronavirus pandemic. The last time the soccer team played a soccer match was on 17 November 2019 against Lithuania which ended 1-0 in favor of Lithuania.