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Czech World Cup squad hit by German Covid rules

The Czech Republic will be without four Germany-based players for their World Cup qualifier against Belgium on Saturday due to Covid-19, restrictions, the local FA said.

Bremen keeper Jiri Pavlenka, Hoffenheim defender Pavel Kaderabek, Leverkusen striker Patrik Schick and Hertha midfielder Vladimir Darida, who is the Czech Republic captain, will all miss the Group E game.

Germany had the Czech Republic on its highest red alert list of “virus variant regions” until Friday

This meant the players would have to go into two-week quarantine before returning from the qualifier.

“Although Germany has now dropped the travel restrictions, the four Bundesliga players will not play against Belgium,” the Czech Football Association said on its website.

“German authorities have failed to confirm the legal explanation that these national team members would not have to go into quarantine after returning to Germany,” it added.

Czech media said Belgium would be without Dortmund midfielders Thorgan Hazard and Thomas Meunier for the same reason on Saturday.

All four Czech Bundesliga players were on the pitch as the Czechs started the qualifying campaign on Wednesday with a 6-2 win over Estonia, which was played in Poland after a surge in infections at home.

Belgium beat Wales 3-1 on the same day, with Hazard and Meunier playing.

The Czechs will next travel to Wales for Tuesday’s game and hope to use the Bundesliga players again. Belgium will host Belarus on the same day.

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