Seven Premier League players including Kasper Schmeichel, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Andreas Christensen could be left out of Denmark's squad to face Sweden, Iceland and Belgium due to new coronavirus restrictions in England; Sweden omit five players based in England and Scotland
Monday 9 November 2020 15:33, UK
England's final UEFA Nations League fixture with Iceland at Wembley is in doubt because of new coronavirus travel restrictions with Denmark.
New coronavirus restrictions have been put in place by the government in England relating to a new coronavirus strain that has spread from mink to humans in North Jutland, Denmark.
Iceland are set to play Denmark in Copenhagen three days before their scheduled match with England in London on November 18.
The uncertainty over England's game with Iceland could continue until just a few days before the match, Sky Sports News has learned as UEFA have stated no decision on England's fixture will be considered until Denmark vs Iceland has been resolved.
The new restrictions on Denmark include elite footballers, who were previously exempt from travel restrictions.
The Football Association is in dialogue with the government and are awaiting clarification regarding the ban, which as it stands would mean the Iceland squad would not be allowed into the country without observing a quarantine.
The latest rules, which took effect on Saturday morning, will be reviewed on November 14, just four days before England are scheduled to play Iceland.
Sky Sports News has also learned it would be almost impossible for UEFA to reschedule any Nations League game for a future date, because of the already congested fixture list.
That means there will have to be practical solutions found during this international break, though UEFA will try to avoid the last resort option - where countries would draw lots to decide the result of a Nations League game.
Seven Premier League players including Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, Tottenham midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Chelsea defender Andreas Christensen could be omitted from Denmark's squad due to new coronavirus restrictions in England.
The Danish FA has announced they have called up nine new players to their squad for the friendly against Sweden (in Denmark) and the UEFA Nations League fixtures with Iceland (in Denmark) and Belgium (in Belgium).
Schmeichel, Christensen, Hojbjerg, Jannik Vestergaard (Southampton), Henrik Dalsgaard (Brentford), Mathias Jensen (Brentford) and Jonas Lössl (Everton) could miss out on joining up with their country.
Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers says as the situation currently stands Schmeichel will not travel to Denmark to play, however, the goalkeeper is more optimistic and criticised the decision as "political".
"I mean it is obviously politics, I don't think it has a lot to do with science," Schmeichel told Sky Sports.
"The politics of it is the government has made a decision for now. I hope they come to their senses and see we are very protected and in a bubble.
"We get tested all the time and I hope to be able to participate in at least one, if not two, of the games."
Tottenham head coach Jose Mourinho says Hojbjerg could still play in Denmark's final Nations League fixture in Belgium.
"Pierre (Hojbjerg) is in contact with his national team, he obviously wants to play for his national team," Mourinho said after Spurs' 1-0 win at West Brom.
"Of course we want Pierre back and in condition to play and it looks like we have found a situation that protects us and the player and allows him to play one match.
"The situation is simple. The first match is a friendly against Sweden, he doesn't go. The second game is in the Nations League at home in Copenhagen, he is suspended because he got a yellow card against England so he is not going.
"The third game is Belgium-Denmark so he stays with us and works with us and goes to Belgium, he does what he wants and plays with the greatest pride for his national team and then he comes back. The situation fits everyone."
Denmark have called up the following players to cover for the expected omission of players based in England: Jesper Hansen (FC Midtjylland), Oliver Christensen (OB), Alexander Scholtz (FC Midtjylland), Anders Dreyer (FC Midtjylland), Jens Stryger (Udinese), Lukas Lerager (Genoa), Rasmus Falk (FC Copenhagen), Victor Nelsson (FC Copenhagen) and Lucas Andersen (AaB).
"It has been impossible to get this confirmed," says DBU (Danish Football Association) director Jakob Jensen, who finds the situation both "regrettable and frustrating".
"As DBU has not received the necessary answers from the English Football Association, national coach Kasper Hjulmand has been forced to select a number of extra players for the test match against Sweden on Wednesday, if the English authorities do not have time to change the rules in the next few days."
The restrictions have already affected Sweden's Premier League players, which include Manchester United defender Victor Lindelof, Newcastle full-back Emile Krafth and Everton goalkeeper Robin Olsen, who are due to play Denmark in a friendly on Wednesday.
In a statement, the Swedish Football Federation said: "Sweden's five national team selected players based in England and Scotland will not be available in the training international match against Denmark due to quarantine rules.
The five players affected are Robin Olsen, Emil Krafth, Filip Helander, Victor Lindelof and Ken Sema.
"Due to the United Kingdom's quarantine rules against Denmark, the quintet will not be released by their clubs to take part in the international match against Denmark.
Sweden manager Stefan Pettersson explained the reason behind the withdrawals.
"If the players need to be quarantined for more than five days after the national team gathering, there is no requirement for the clubs to release the players. In this case, our players will not be released for the match against Denmark.
"However, the clubs release the players for the other two matches, against Croatia and France", he added.