The European Championship gets underway on Friday and we’ve got the headline injury news from each group to help you finalise those last-minute Fantasy decisions.
Italy have confirmed that Roma’s Lorenzo Pellegrini, the subject of a £25m transfer offer from Liverpool according to Corriere dello Sport, has suffered a muscle injury and have submitted a request to UEFA for his squad place to be taken by Gaetano Castrovilli of Fiorentina.
On Thursday The FIGC confirmed:
[Pellegrini] was taken for a scan this morning and will nonetheless remain part of the group, which will travel to Rome this morning. In anticipation of an answer from UEFA, Gaetano Castrovilli will join up with the group in Rome.
Marco Verratti remains a major doubt with a knee injury but Alessandro Florenzi is expected to recover from a muscle issue.
Kevin De Bruyne looks set to miss Belgium’s clash with Russia, while Eden Hazard has had his own fitness battle in the run-up to this summer’s European Championship.
Speaking earlier this week, Roberto Martinez said:
[De Bruyne] has joined the group and that’s fantastic news. He looks ready, he looks fresh and just for him walking into the dining room was a real highlight of the day.
He watched the Croatia game and he’s already in the mood of the team and is looking forward to slowly taking his own pace with the medical team. But it makes a big difference when he’s with the players and is part of the group.
I think the target for Eden was to be on the pitch against Croatia and I think that was almost a psychological step.
It wasn’t the case Eden needs to play bigger chunks of time on the pitch but I think the next step, now, will be in training to try to get the match intensity.
It was a needed step; it wasn’t about the minutes, it was about being able to make that step without risk, in a safe manner and that is what we did.
I think it will be difficult to tell when he will be ready [to start]. It will depend on a lot of things how the game goes, what is the scoreline, how demanding the game can be in and out of possession.
What is important is now he is medically fit and now we have a good build up of five days before the Russia game.
Having missed the final four months of the season with a torn Achilles tendon, Axel Witsel has also returned to training but may also have to miss the weekend’s match.
Russia winger Andrey Mostovoy is out of the European Championship after testing positive for the coronavirus.
Match fitness could be an issue for Austria captain Julian Baumgartlinger, who spent much of 2021 on the sidelines with a knee injury and has only featured as a late substitute in one of his national side’s two warm-up games.
Centre-half Matthijs de Ligt estimates that he has a “50-50” chance of overcoming a groin injury to face Ukraine.
De Ligt returned to full training for the first time on Thursday following five days out and said:
We’ll see how it feels on the day itself but Sunday is definitely my goal. It’s 50-50, but I feel good. Let’s say 60 percent chance I’ll make it.
Donny van de Beek has been ruled out of the tournament with a reported groin issue, meanwhile.
Viktor Tsygankov is a doubt for Ukraine with a muscle issue.
Harry Maguire has returned to training ahead of the Croatia game following an ankle problem but it may not be until Matchday 3 that we see the Manchester United stopper in competitive action, with a return to play against the Czech Republic being mooted.
Jordan Henderson is a little bit ahead of Maguire, building his fitness up with a 45-minute run-out against Romania after three months on the sidelines with a groin problem.
Bukayo Saka sat out that final warm-up game for the Three Lions with a hip issue.
Dejan Lovren looks set to miss the clash with England after picking up an injury, with Duje-Ćaleta Car in line for a start at centre-half.
Head coach Steve Clarke said that John Fleck will be a “long shot” to make Scotland’s clash with the Czech Republic following his spell in self-isolation, although he has now returned to training.
The Sheffield United midfielder tested positive for Covid-19 less than a fortnight ago and has been in quarantine since.
Clarke said Fleck would be “certainly ready for the next two”.
The Scotland boss downplayed a head injury picked up by Billy Gilmour last Sunday:
The good news is he is fine. The doctors took him off as a precaution and we’ll assess him over the next couple of days. He’s a tough boy; he’s from Ardrossan! He’s fine.
On Monday evening, Poland manager Paulo Sousa announced that Arkadiusz Milik had been ruled out of the tournament. Dawid Kownacki is also struggling with injury and Poland are now down to the inexperienced Jakub Swierczok (4 caps, 1 goal) and Karol Swiderski (3 caps, 1 goal) as potential partners for Robert Lewandowski.
Slovakia will be sweating on Marek Hamsik‘s calf problem, meanwhile, after their talisman missed both June warm-up matches.
Diego Llorente had a scare on Wednesday evening when it was announced that he had tested positive for COVID-19 in the wake of an earlier positive result for veteran team-mate Sergio Busquets that had already caused Spain to call up a team of youngsters for Tuesday night’s friendly where they promptly dismissed Lithuania 4-0.
However, the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) reports that the Leeds United centre-back has since provided two negative tests, suggesting that the original result was a ‘false positive’, and he may re-join the main squad by the end of the week.
When the news about Busquets broke, manager Luis Enrique contacted six players originally left out of his EURO 2020 squad and asked them to help form a “parallel bubble” in case any replacements are required as the deadline for finalising EURO 2020 squads gets closer.
Amongst those literally cancelling their holidays was Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, West Ham midfielder Pablo Fornals and Leeds United’s record signing, striker Rodrigo Moreno, who himself had suffered from COVID earlier in the season.
Eleven of the successful ‘shadow’ team from the Lithuania game joined the more established returnees as they wait to see if any of them will be needed. Manager Luis Enrique gave an insight into the squad’s current circumstances at Thursday’s press conference:
Right now we try to control what we can. Players who share a position do not train together and eat 10 metres apart… We do the PCR at eight in the morning so that the laboratory can give us results before training… We are prepared for any adversity. Until Saturday or Sunday we have to be attentive to any plan before giving the final list… Right now we have a clear and concise plan B and we hope we don’t have to carry it out… [Sergio Busquets] is asymptomatic, perfect and is training wonderfully, always in contact with the staff and the squad.
Antonie Griezmann and Karim Benzema are both doubts for France ahead of Matchday 1.
Griezmann has reportedly suffered a “contusion to his calf”, while Karim Benzema was substituted with a knock in Les Bleus’ final warm-up game.
Both players were training indoors as of Thursday.
Speaking on Benzema, Didier Deschamps said:
He took a good hit on the muscle above the knee. He stopped playing because he felt it hardening but the medical staff are at his side.
We have a high level medical staff, we are going to do the right thing. It will get better day by day. I have no particular concern this evening. There is nothing dramatic.
Oliver Bierhoff, the German national team director, has confirmed that Bayern Munich midfielder Leon Goretzka will miss the team’s opening EURO 2020 match:
He is able to train with the team, but he won’t be an option for the first game. Leon is an incredibly important player and I’m sure that he will end up playing an integral role for us.
Goretzka played in all three of Germany’s World Cup qualifiers in the spring, forming a midfield triumvirate with Ilkay Gundogan and Joshua Kimmich, but he missed both their pre-tournament friendlies recovering from a muscle tear as Joachim Low experimented with alternative formations and personnel such as Florian Neuhaus and Lukas Klostermann.
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