England may have to forfeit Iceland match after Denmark vs Iceland expected to go ahead

UEFA expected to allow Denmark vs Iceland to go ahead as planned in Copenhagen; England due to play Iceland at Wembley next Wednesday, but current Government guidelines do not allow arrivals from Denmark due to new strain of coronavirus in country

England may have to forfeit their final Nations League group game against Iceland due to government policy after Sky Sports News learned that UEFA is expected to sanction Denmark's fixture with the Icelanders in Copenhagen this Sunday.

As things stand, the Government will not allow any of Iceland's players into the country to play the game if they have been in Denmark - where a new strain of coronavirus has been linked to the country's mink farms.

 Harry Kane of England, Harry Winks of England, Ben Chilwell of England , Raheem Sterling of England during the UEFA Nations league match between Spain v England at the Estadio Benito Villamarin on October 15, 2018 in Sevilla Spain 2:41
With UEFA expected to sanction Iceland's game against Denmark in Copenhagen this weekend, England may have to forfeit their own game against Iceland next week. Rob Dorsett of Sky Sports News explains why.

The DCMS has told Sky Sports News they have no plans to re-visit that policy until Saturday - that is the day England fly to Leuven to play Belgium, and four days before England against Iceland is due to take place at Wembley.

It remains unclear whether the possibility of playing the fixture in a neutral venue next Wednesday would be acceptable under the Government's rules.

The Icelandic squad will have been inside Denmark and then come into direct contact with England's players during the game, which could mean England's players having to self-isolate when they re-enter the UK.

England won 1-0 in Iceland in September
Image: England won 1-0 in Iceland in September

The new restrictions on Denmark include elite footballers, who were previously exempt from travel restrictions.

Sky Sports News previously reported that it would be almost impossible for UEFA to reschedule any Nations League game for a future date, because of the already congested fixture list.

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Discussions between the FA and the Government are ongoing.

PL players could be omitted by Denmark

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 the 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 and Belgium (in Belgium).

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (left) and Andreas Christensen (right) are set to miss Denmark's next three internationals
Image: Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (left) and Andreas Christensen (right) are set to miss Denmark's next three internationals

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.

preview image 0:29
Kasper Schmeichel has questioned the tightening of travel restrictions between the UK and Denmark ahead of the latest round of international fixtures.

"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."

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg 1:10
Jose Mourinho says Tottenham midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg could still play in Denmark's final game in Belgium.

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."

Sweden missing five players

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.

Victor Lindelof of Sweden and Manchester United FC during the UEFA Nations League group stage match between Portugal and Sweden at Estadio Jose Alvalade on October 14, 2020 in Lisbon, Portugal
Image: Lindelof played for Sweden against Portugal last month in the Nations League

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.

Goalkeeper Robin Olsen of Sweden
Image: Everton goalkeeper Robin Olsen playing for Sweden

"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.

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