England clash with Andorra to go ahead despite stadium fire

Toby Cudworth
A major fire broke out at Andorra's national stadium
A major fire broke out at Andorra's national stadium / Twitter/Sky Sports

England's World Cup qualifier with Andorra will go ahead despite a serious fire breaking out at the Estadi Nacional Stadium on Friday afternoon, UEFA has confirmed.

Sky Sports News reporter Rob Dorsett was providing a live update to viewers regarding England's team news when the camera panned over to a substantial blaze on the opposite side of the stadium.

Thick smoke was seen billowing from fairly sizeable flames, just metres away from the pitch and apartment blocks that are located just behind the ground.

Fortunately, fire crews were swiftly on hand to deal with the blaze, but there is significant damage to the structure of the stadium's gantry - where commentary teams would normally be positioned - as well as the pitchside VAR monitors, one of the dugouts and a small section of the artificial 3G pitch.

Replacement equipment is said to already be on site and a structural engineer will head to the stadium to assess the damage to the gantry. Despite all of that, UEFA confirmed late on Friday the position of Andorra's Football Federation - the game will go ahead.

No players were present at the time of the fire, but England's squad had been training at the ground in the preceding hours in order to acclimatise to the artificial surface - which many have questioned because of the increased risk of injury.

The Three Lions are already without some familiar faces because of niggles and other fitness concerns, though it's largely expected that Gareth Southgate will make wholesale changes in a game England are expected to win comfortably.

Kieran Trippier is set to captain the side - leading an inexperienced backline that could have Sam Johnstone in goal and Fikayo Tomori lining up alongside John Stones - and he's spoken of what it means to lead his country out in what will be his 35th international game.

“Unbelievable feeling,” Trippier told the press. “As a player to captain your country is one of my best feelings, one of the proudest moments of my career. Hopefully I can follow that up with a win but I’m speechless, really, to captain my country and lead the boys out. You know obviously something I’ll never ever forget.

Kieran Trippier
Kieran Trippier is set to captain England / Quality Sport Images/GettyImages

“As a player it’s always good to have a manager who trusts in you, no matter where you play on the pitch. I’ve been with Gareth now nearly since he took charge so I try to repay that by my performances.

James Ward-Prowse and Bukayo Saka are also expected to be handed starts, as is late addition to the squad Tammy Abraham - who has recaptured some of his best form during the early days of his spell at Roma.