June 21, 2021

England cancel Germany friendly after positive coronavirus test

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Phil Neville’s Lionesses had been set to face the two-time world champions in Wiesbaden in their first international fixture since March

England have cancelled their friendly match with Germany on Tuesday after a member of the team’s backroom staff tested positive for coronavirus.

In Germany, any individual who tests positive for Covid-19 in the country must self-isolate for 14 days, and it was decided not to run the risk of this happening to another member of the group.

The Lionesses squad will return to their clubs on Sunday after their training camp at St George’s Park was also cut short.

Phil Neville’s side last played in March, when they beat Japan but lost to Spain and the United States in the SheBelieves Cup.

England have played some intra-squad friendly matches recently in the absence of any other fixtures and fans were keenly anticipating the clash with Germany, currently second in the FIFA world rankings.

They are next scheduled to play Norway on December 1.

Star players Lucy Bronze and Nikita Parris had returned to the England squad for the trip to Germany, with seven uncapped players also called up. In-form Chelsea forward Fran Kirby had been forced to withdraw with an ankle injury.

Head coach Neville said: “While we all wanted to play Tuesday’s game, this was absolutely the right course of action. I thank Germany’s staff for their understanding and our FA colleagues for their support. I know the fans were hoping to see us play again but I am sure they will understand the decision.

“We have still had a good week of training and are looking forward to getting together next month before our match against Norway in Sheffield.”

Mark Bullingham, chief executive at the FA, added: “This has been a difficult but necessary decision.  Nothing is more important than the safety, health and wellbeing of the players and colleagues under our care. We are very grateful to the DFB for their cooperation and understanding and look forward to the possibility of a future fixture in healthier and safer times.”

England are winding down to the end of the Neville era, with the former Manchester United and Everton defender set to step down from his role in September 2021 after the rearranged Olympic Games.

Current Netherlands coach Sandra Wiegman will take his place on a four-year contract ahead of the European Championship in 2022, which England will host.