By The Associated Press
The Latest on soccer’s European Championship:
Kevin De Bruyne has not traveled to St. Petersburg with the Belgium squad for Saturday’s European Championship game against Russia.
The Manchester City playmaker only linked up with the team on Monday after having a minor operation on the fractured nose and eye socket he sustained during the Champions League final against Chelsea on May 29.
Belgium coach Roberto Martinez says De Bruyne hasn’t yet trained with the group and was still following an individual program to “get him back to really being able to move freely.”
Martinez says he expects De Bruyne to join full training with the squad when Belgium’s players return to the training camp in Tubize after the group game against Russia.
Belgium’s second game is against Denmark in Copenhagen on Thursday.
Italy doesn’t allow non-essential travel from Turkey but fans from the country’s diaspora in Europe have been descending on Rome for the opening match of the European Championship.
Tukey will face Italy at the Stadio Olimpico in Group A of Euro 2020.
Metin Karagulle was cruising toward the Colosseum with a group of Turkey fans on electric scooters.
He says “we came all the way here together from Switzerland and we hope it is fair play that wins.”
Tayip Abanoz traveled to Rome from Stuttgart, Germany.
Abanoz says it will be “something really big for all the Turkish people who are coming here to Rome to watch the game.”
Fans in Turkey will be able to travel to Azerbaijan for the team’s other group matches. The Turks will face Wales and Switzerland in Baku and fans with tickets will be able to attend if they have proof of a negative COVID-19 test.
Scotland’s players will take a knee at the European Championship before the game against England in London but will stand ahead of matches in Glasgow against the Czech Republic and Croatia.
The England team has been doing the anti-racism gesture since last year.
Scotland captain Andy Roberton says “we have collectively decided to again take the knee as a team for the fixture against England at Wembley Stadium.”
The match will be played on June 18.
The gesture has been booed by a section of England fans but the team will continue to take a knee at Euro 2020. England’s first game of the tournament will be on Sunday against Croatia.
Spain’s squad for the European Championship has been vaccinated against the coronavirus after two players had to be isolated following positive tests for COVID-19.
The national team says medics from Spain’s Armed Forces administered the shots at the team’s training facility near Madrid.
Spain will play Sweden in Seville on Monday in its opening Euro 2020 match. Preparations for the tournament were thrown off this week after captain Sergio Busquets and defender Diego Llorente both tested positive.
Llorente’s subsequent tests have come back negative so his initial positive result may have been erroneous. The team says he may be able to return soon.
Busquets tested positive on Sunday and is under a minimum 10-day isolation. But the team says he is feeling fine and that it hopes he will be back during the tournament.
Russia winger Andrey Mostovoy has become the first player to be cut from a team at this year’s European Championship because of the coronavirus.
The team says on Twitter that “in connection with an unfavorable result of PCR testing” for the virus Mostovoy has been replaced with defender Roman Evgeniev.
The announcement comes a day before Russia plays Belgium in St. Petersburg in its opening Euro 2020 match.
Mostovoy made his debut for Russia last year and played eight of the team’s last 11 games. He has played mostly as a substitute. Evgeniev’s only appearance for his country was in a 5-0 loss to Serbia last year.
Sweden and Spain have both reported positive results from coronavirus tests but haven’t yet opted to replace the affected players.
The biggest soccer tournament of the coronavirus-era is about to get started.
The first match of the European Championship will kick off at 1900 GMT in Rome when Italy plays Turkey in Group A. And there will be about 16,000 fans in the stadium.
Euro 2020 was supposed to start last year on June 12. The tournament was postponed for almost exactly one year because of the coronavirus pandemic. The final is now set for July 11 at Wembley Stadium in London.
Much of the schedule for the postponed tournament remains the same as last year but some changes in venues have been made. The 51 matches will be played in 11 cities around the continent. Rome and London will be joined by Amsterdam, Baku, Bucharest, Budapest, Copenhagen, Glasgow, Munich, Seville and St. Petersburg.
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