A large number of international fixtures and qualifiers are set to be played during the March international break – but will theystill go ahead?
The world is still at the centre of the Covid-19 pandemic, but a FIFA international break is still scheduled for March 2021.
March will see the likes of UEFA and CONMEBOL participate in qualifying matches for the 2022 World Cup, alongside some international friendlies.
But with Covid-19 still posing a dangerous threat, and cross-continent travel likely to contribute to yet another wave of the virus, could the international fixtures be delayed or simply cancelled? Goal takes a look.
Will the March 2021 international break be cancelled?
It remains to be seen whether or not the March 2021 international fixtures will be postponed or delayed, but the likes of Pep Guardiola have voiced their concerns about the ripple effects of playing such games as they require foreign travel, potentially leading to further spread of Covid-19.
“The only way to be protected from this virus is to stay at home and don’t move, and social distance, and have no contact and not travel,” Guardiola told reporters in a press conference.
“Now people are going to travel and players are going to their national teams, it’s difficult enough to control it, so I think something is going to rise, unfortunately.
“I would like to guess or say it’s not going to happen, but from experience it has already happened in two or three waves worldwide. So if you move you take a risk to be contaminated again, to get the virus again.
“I think the Premier League should be concerned about this, all the leagues [should be] concerned.”
Despite the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine worldwide, distribution has been slow and it will take months for most of the population to achieve herd immunity, which is essential in order to take the next steps towards normalcy and regular life.
Nations League fixtures in September continued without disruption, despite the alarming numbers of total Covid-19 cases across Europe and beyond.
March 2021 international fixtures
March 2021 will see a mix of international friendlies and European qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup.
CONMEBOL will also play World Cup qualification matches in March.
A mixture of competitive and non-competitive games will be played over the window of March 22 and March 31.
If travel restrictions are implemented to prevent teams from flying out to play games, the competitive fixtures – UEFA’s European qualifiers – have the potential to be postponed or delayed until later in the year.
Standout fixtures include Wales vs Czech Republic, Belgium vs Wales, England vs San Marino, Spain vs Greece, Colombia vs Brazil, Argentina vs Uruguay and Brazil vs Argentina.
Several Champions League fixtures were forced to be changed to neutral stadiums in order to comply with local government travel guidelines.