MATCHDAY: Ronaldo out after testing positive for COVID-19

A look at what’s happening in the main games in Nations League on Wednesday:


Portugal will be without Cristiano Ronaldo after the star forward tested positive for the coronavirus. He was feeling well but was immediately dropped from the squad and put in isolation. The rest of the team tested negative ahead of the match in Lisbon. The announcement of Ronaldo’s positive result came two days after he played in the 0-0 draw at France. Defending champion Portugal is tied with France at the top of Group 3 with seven points from three matches.


Italy enters on an 18-match unbeaten run and is one point clear atop Group 1 following a 0-0 draw in Poland on Saturday. The Netherlands has scored just one goal in three matches but is in second place, one point behind Italy and level on points with Poland. Italy has won three and drawn three in its six meetings with the Netherlands since the Oranje beat the Azzurri 3-0 in the opening round of the 2008 European Championship.


After drawing with Cristiano Ronaldo’s team Portugal, France coach Didier Deschamps said he can count on all his players for the match at Croatia. Deschamps said the French players underwent coronavirus tests Monday that have all returned negative. World champion France missed the chance to move three points clear at the top of Group 3 with the goalless home draw ahead of its trip to World Cup runner-up Croatia.


Another off-field issue has left England coach Gareth Southgate short of cover at left back for the game at Wembley Stadium. Kieran Trippier was withdrawn from the squad reportedly because he must attend a Football Association hearing into his alleged breach of the governing body’s betting rules relating to an incident in July 2019. Trippier, a right back, had been filling in at left back because of a shortage of available players in that position. Ben Chilwell, the only specialist left back named in the squad, initially had to delay linking up with the group over coronavirus fears after attending a party that was in contravention on virus guidelines. Now he has returned to his club, Chelsea, for assessment on a pre-existing injury. England tops Group E, a point above Belgium and three more than Denmark.


Playmaker Kevin De Bruyne has been ruled out of Belgium’s match at Iceland and returned to his Manchester City club. Without elaborating, the Belgian federation said on Tuesday that he could not be “fit enough” to play after he was substituted during the second half of the 2-1 loss to England on Sunday. Belgium was already without several important players including Thibaut Courtois, Eden Hazard and Dries Mertens. Belgium lost the Group 2 top spot to England following its first loss in almost two years.


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