The positive test of Norway’s vice-captain Omar Elabdellaoui (28) is just the tip of the iceberg in national team football last week. Corona infection flourishes during national team gatherings in Europe and South America.
Last in the now long line of corona-infected star players last week was the Uruguay striker
. He played the national team’s match against Colombia in the South American World Cup qualifier last week, and Uruguay will meet Brazil on Wednesday night.
But it will be without Suárez. He is not the only one who involuntarily has to stand over international matches. For the past week, national teams have gathered players from all corners of Europe and the rest of the world to play in the international period, and there the infection has flourished:
* Ten players on the Ukrainian national team and some in the support apparatus have delivered positive corona tests. As a result, Switzerland-Ukraine has been canceled by local authorities in Lucerne.
* South Korea has detected four infected people. They are in now closed Austria to play international matches.
* Three national team coaches, Swedish Janne Andersson, Italian Roberto Mancini and Hungary’s Marco Rossi have not been able to lead their teams due to positive corona tests.
* Egypt and Liverpool star Mohamed Salah was diagnosed after a lively and packed wedding party.
VG’s review shows that at least 30 players on 12 different national teams staying in Europe and South America have been diagnosed with infection during the national team period in the last week alone. The number of corona-infected players in the last week comes on top of the number of players who have been quarantined ahead of the national team gatherings.
On Tuesday afternoon, it was announced that the Nations League settlement between Switzerland and Ukraine will be canceled. Together with Norway-Israel and Romania-Norway, these three are the only matches that have been dropped so far.
– This is a result of there being more infection in the whole society. Then there will be infection in all environments, in all age groups and in various sports. It is completely natural. This does not mean that you have poor infection control measures in sports, for example. Top sports have been good at having good infection control protocols. When there is a high level of infection throughout Europe, there are cases of infection on these teams, explains assistant health director Espen Nakstad in this VG interview:
Health director Bjørn Guldvog went out and thought that all international football across national borders should be stopped. That is, national team football and European club tournaments. Molde participates in the Europa League as the only Scandinavian team, and Guldvog believes the virus wave in Europe indicates that action must be taken.
– I have recommended that you look more closely at this with the infection situation we are in now. For a period, it is not so wise to meet in major events and matches at an international level. But it is a medical assessment. Not a legality assessment. But in my opinion, it is a great risk to get infected into the team, says the health director, who has expressed his views to both the Norwegian Football Association and the European Football Association (UEFA), according to NRK.