Spain Euro 2020 squad will get vaccinated against Covid-19 before the football tournament starts, the health ministry said on Wednesday after two players gave positive results. The announcement came hours after the team’s management said it had formed a “parallel” 17-reserve team that could be forced to play if the infection spreads among its players. Health Minister Carolina Darías will announce “tonight that Spain’s national team will be vaccinated, as is the case with all international sports professionals, such as those competing in the Olympic Games,” a spokesperson told AFP.
The sudden decision came after Spanish defender Diego Llorente became the second player to test positive for Covid-19 overnight after the same happened with captain Sergio Busquets on Sunday.
The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) said in a statement on its website that it was setting up a “parallel bubble” and asked 11 players to join six backups, the first team already hit by the coronavirus. Spain will begin their Euro campaign on Monday, playing Sweden in Group E in the southern city of Seville.
Sweden’s Euro 2020 team was also plagued by infections with two players, star striker Dejan Kulusevski and midfielder Mattias Svanberg, testing positive, their federation said on Tuesday.
“The coaching staff of the Spanish national team has decided that the 11 internationals initially invited for the match against Lithuania will remain part of the senior national team. This group of internationals will join their peers … in a parallel bubble, created in anticipation of the possible consequences that could result from the positives of Sergio Busquets and Diego Llorente.”
The 11 new players were part of the under-21 team that beat Lithuania 4-0 in Spain’s last warm-up match on Tuesday night. The players are Alvaro Fernandez, Oscar Mingueza, Marc Cucurella, Bryan Gil, Juan Miranda, Gonzalo Villar, Alejandro Pozo, Brahim Diaz, Martin Zubimendi, Yeremi Pino and Javi Puado.
He joins six players already recruited by coach Luis Enrique as insurance against any positive elements in his team: Rodrigo Moreno, Pablo Fornals, Carlos Soler, Brais Mendez, Raul Albiol, and Kepa Arrizabalaga.
The 17 reserves in their separate bubble will have no contact with the main team Euro 2020. Spain will also play Poland and Slovakia in Group E, with all group stage matches at the Cartuja Stadium in Sevilla.