The determination to hold international matches — and especially international friendlies! — during a pandemic has been one of the most annoyingly frivolous things ever dreamt up by FIFA and UEFA and their ilk, and that’s saying something.
But even beyond the extra stress put on the players with congested schedules and non-essential travel, the very real prospect of increased cases of COVID-19 stemming from the commingling of various football bubbles has been hanging over the whole shebang.
And after getting lucky in September and October, we’re now seeing multiple incidences of national team players testing positive, and potentially exposing their teammates as well — and what is most concerning to us is that quite a few Chelsea players could now be impacted as well.
We had a case at Croatia — found out halfway through a match, even! — Brazil, France, and now Republic of Ireland as well, where Alan Browne tested positive today after playing in yesterday’s friendly (FRIENDLY!) against England, which featured Reece James, Mason Mount, and Tammy Abraham, plus Ben Chilwell on the bench. Those other cases could put Mateo Kovačić, Thiago Silva, N’Golo Kanté, Kurt Zouma, and Olivier Giroud in danger of having to quarantine (or worse, depending on the severity of a possible infection).
Losing any of those players for any length of time could have a severe impact on our results, especially in his highly congested period coming up.
The Football Association of Ireland can confirm Ireland midfielder Alan Browne has tested positive for COVID-19— FAIreland ⚽️ (@FAIreland) November 13, 2020
There are no close contacts of the player and the rest of the staff & squad tested negative ahead of Sunday's UEFA Nations League against Wales in Cardiff#COYBIG pic.twitter.com/Llpde9apHo