Spain’s Euro 2020 squad is to be vaccinated against COVID-19 just days before the start of the tournament, the health ministry said Wednesday after two players tested positive.
The announcement came just hours after the team’s management said it had set up a “parallel” squad of 17 reserves who may have to play if infections spread among its players.
Health Minister Carolina Darias “will announce” this evening “that Spain’s national team will be vaccinated as is the case with all international sports professionals like those competing in the Olympics,” a spokesman told AFP.
The sudden decision came after Spain defender Diego Llorente became the second player to test positive for Covid-19 overnight, after the same happened with captain Sergio Busquets on Sunday.
Since Sunday, Spain’s entire Euro squad has been in isolation.
In a statement on its website, the Spanish football federation (RFEF) said it was setting up a “parallel bubble” and had called in 11 players to join six backups who were already acting as cover for the coronavirus-hit first squad.
Spain are due to open their Euro campaign on Monday, playing Sweden in Group E in the southern city of Seville.
Sweden’s Euro 2020 squad has also been hit by infections, with two players, star forward Dejan Kulusevski and midfielder Mattias Svanberg, testing positive, its federation said Tuesday.
“The coaching staff of Spain’s national team have decided 11 internationals initially called up for the match against Lithuania will remain part of the senior national team,” it said.
The 11 newcomers were part of an Under-21 team that thumped Lithuania 4-0 on Tuesday evening in Spain’s final warm-up match.
“This group of internationals will join their teammates… within a parallel bubble, created in anticipation of the possible consequences that could result from the positives of Sergio Busquets and Diego Llorente.”
The players are Alvaro Fernandez, Oscar Mingueza, Marc Cucurella, Bryan Gil, Juan Miranda, Gonzalo Villar, Alejandro Pozo, Brahim Diaz, Martin Zubimendi, Yeremy Pino and Javi Puado.
They join six players already drafted in by coach Luis Enrique as insurance against any more positives among his squad: Rodrigo Moreno, Pablo Fornals, Carlos Soler, Brais Mendez, Raul Albiol and Kepa Arrizabalaga.
The 17 reserves in their separate bubble will have no contact with the main Euro 2020 squad.
Spain are also scheduled to play Poland and Slovakia in Group E, with all their group stage matches at the Cartuja stadium in Seville.
Spain backup squad
Alvaro Fernandez (Huesca), Oscar Mingueza (Barcelona), Marc Cucurella (Getafe), Bryan Gil (Eibar), Juan Miranda (Betis), Gonzalo Villar (Roma/ITA), Alejandro Pozo (Eibar), Brahim Diaz (AC Milan/ITA), Martin Zubimendi (Real Sociedad), Yeremy Pino (Villarreal), Javi Puado (Espanyol), Rodrigo Moreno (Leeds/ENG), Pablo Fornals (West Ham/ENG), Carlos Soler (Valencia), Brais Mendez (Celta Vigo), Raul Albiol (Villarreal), Kepa Arrizabalaga (Chelsea/ENG)