England vs. Andorra: Fire breaks out inside stadium set to host 2022 World Cup qualifier

It’s unclear whether England’s 2022 World Cup qualifying clash against Andorra on Saturday will be impacted by a fire that broke out in Andorra’s national stadium just 24 hours before kickoff. Andorra plays its matches at the Estadi Nacional, based in the Pyrenees capital of Andorra la Vella.

Video cameras on hand for the pregame press conferences panned to a section of the stadium identified as the television gantry that was being engulfed in flames. The fire, apparently confined to a single side of the field, looked to have caught the pitchside monitor typically used for video assistant referee decisions. Firefighters have since extinguished the blaze.

Sky Sports News captured the scenes live, having been broadcasting a preview of the match from the stadium when the fire broke out, and have since reported that firefighters have brought it under control.

Given the proximity of the blaze to the pitch at the Estadi Nacional, it remains to be seen whether England’s game will take place as planned.

With both sides already scheduled to play another match during the October international break, it is unlikely that it would be possible to rearrange the game before November at the earliest.

England manager Gareth Southgate had previously indicated that Atletico Madrid defender Kieran Trippier would captain the side against Andorra, a match that was set to make history with an all-female officials team taking charge of an England match for the first time. The pregame conversation also focused on the hosts’ artificial playing surface at the Estadi Nacional.

After playing Andorra (1-5-0, 3 points) on Saturday, England was scheduled to host Hungary on Tuesday at Wembley Stadium. The Three Lions, currently unbeaten in Group I (5-0-1, 16 points), are looking to further strengthen their position in the chase of a berth to Qatar next year. 

England is currently four points ahead of Albania in the standings and five ahead of Poland with just four matches left to be played.

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