Ukraine's Nations League away match against Switzerland was called off on Tuesday after the visitors were put into quarantine by local health authorities due to a spate of COVID-19 cases.

The Group A4 match in Lucerne was in doubt from the moment Swiss regional health officials declared their decision regarding the Ukraine travelling party.

Three Ukraine players tested positive for the coronavirus on Monday and there were four further positives announced on Tuesday - affecting Ruslan Malinovskiy, Sergei Kryvtsov, Junior Moraes and a member of the coaching staff.

Kryvtsov and Moraes had previously tested positive for COVID-19 and had antibodies in their system that prevented reinfection, the Ukrainian Football Association (UAF) said.

Ukraine press officer Oleksandr Hlyvynskyi said in a statement: "UEFA informed the Ukrainian Football Association that 'due to the competent decision of the Department of Health of the Canton of Lucerne to quarantine the entire delegation of the national team of Ukraine, the UEFA Nations League match Switzerland - Ukraine cannot take place'.

"Note that UEFA, UAF and the Swiss Football Association are ready for the match, but the ban [issued by] local authorities cancels all hopes of football organisations to hold the game.

"The decision on the future of the match will be made by UEFA."

The Swiss FA also confirmed the match would not go ahead, saying the Ukrainians could not produce a replacement team to contest the fixture.

Ukraine were sitting third in the group ahead of the final round of fixtures, with Switzerland winless from five games and bottom on three points.

Norway's Nations League clash with Romania on Sunday was also called off after Norwegian health authorities banned the team from travelling due to a positive coronavirus case.

Luis Enrique defended his decision to start without a recognised striker after Spain required a last-minute goal to snatch a 1-1 draw in Saturday's Nations League clash with Switzerland.

Spain were heading for successive Group A4 defeats before substitute Gerard Moreno struck to cancel out Remo Freuler's first-half opener in a game that saw Sergio Ramos miss two penalties.

Having started with Gerard and Alvaro Morata in Wednesday's 1-1 friendly draw with the Netherlands, Luis Enrique reverted back to his striker-less system at St Jakob-Park by recalling Dani Olmo to lead the line.

It was ultimately Villarreal striker Gerard who made the difference for Spain as he got on the end of Sergio Reguilon's left-sided cross and clinically converted from seven yards out – one of 20 shots the visitors attempted.

Luis Enrique's side have scored three goals in their past five games but the coach has stood by his decision to leave out the likes of Morata and Gerard in Basel until the second half.

"Soccer can be like this," he said. "It is a wonderful game but sometimes it does not do justice. A lot of things happened and we tried to play our style. 

"We felt that a number nine was not going to be necessary in the first half. We lacked a bit of freshness but I think Switzerland were good.

"We lacked when it came to the most difficult thing – scoring. On the basis of the first half we deserved to win, and on the basis of the second as well. It is easy to say after the game that Morata had to play or Gerard should have played."

Spain have taken one point from their past two Group A4 matches, having lost 1-0 to Ukraine last month, and now face Germany – one point better off after beating Ukraine 3-1 on Saturday – in a final-game shootout for top spot on Tuesday.

"I already have a plan for the Germany game," Luis Enrique added. "We will have to see how the players recover and take that into account.

"But we now know that we need to win or be out, as if it was a knockout game in the European Championship."

Arguably the biggest selection call of all, however, was Luis Enrique's decision to bring in Unai Simon over benched pair David de Gea and Kepa Arrizabalaga in goal for the second match running.

Simon made two saves but was well beaten for Freuler's opener and was caught out in the second half when racing way off his line and failing to get the ball, with Ramos getting back to block Haris Seferovic's shot on the line.

Asked to explain his goalkeeping pecking order, Luis Enrique said: "I have always declared that I am happy with all three of them.

"I will keep calling on them. Unai has been very good."

Gerard's late goal was his fourth for Spain, each being scored in the month of November, and was of particular relief to Ramos following his remarkable double penalty miss.

The Spain skipper was making his 177th international appearance, seeing him overtake Italy great Gianluigi Buffon as the most-capped European male player.

Yann Sommer was equal to both spot-kicks but Luis Enrique is keeping faith with Ramos, who had scored his previous 25 for club and country.

"There is a list of shooters and Ramos is first," he said. "He would take every penalty that was in the game. 

"He had been on a good run but football has these moments. We are not going to criticise him now."

Spain are now unbeaten in 10 away games against Switzerland, which is their best such run against any opponent.

Sergio Ramos missed two second-half penalties on his record-breaking appearance for Spain but Gerard Moreno rescued the visitors a late 1-1 draw against 10-man Switzerland in Saturday's dramatic Nations League clash.

The captain, who earlier blocked a shot on the line, was twice foiled from the spot by Yann Sommer on his 177t international appearance, which saw him become the most-capped European male player.

Ramos' misses on his big night appeared as though it would cost Spain dear as Remo Freuler's 26th-minute half-volley put Switzerland on course for a first Group A4 victory.

But the hosts, who lost Nico Elvedi to a red card for his part in the second penalty at St. Jakob-Park in Basel, were denied in the last minute as Gerard spared Ramos' blushes and prevented Spain from falling to successive defeats in the competition.

Sergio Ramos has become the most capped European footballer of all time, surpassing the record set by Italy legend Gianluigi Buffon.

Real Madrid centre-back Ramos earned a 177th appearance for Spain in Saturday's Nations League match against Switzerland, having pulled level with Buffon when coming off the bench against the Netherlands on Wednesday.

It means Ramos, a World Cup winner with Spain, is now just eight short of the overall record held by Egypt's Ahmed Hassan.

As well as his triumph in South Africa in 2010, Ramos has won two European Championships with Spain and scored 23 goals for his country – putting him joint eighth on the list with Alfredo Di Stefano.

Indeed, no player has won more games for his country than Ramos (129 prior to kick-off against Switzerland).

Coincidentally, Ramos has played against Italy 10 times – more than any other nation – and faced Buffon on each occasion, winning four of those matches while losing just one.

The 34-year-old has played in 17 World Cup games and 15 in the European Championship, while 97 of his caps came under the leadership of Vicente Del Bosque, winning 76.2 per cent of those matches under the ex-Madrid coach.

Ramos' international career began in 2005 against Chile and by the age of 26 he had already racked up a century of appearances.

Buffon's last Italy outing came against Argentina in March 2018, some 7,450 days after making his Azzurri bow against Russia in October 1997.

The Juventus great, also a World Cup winner, kept 68 sheets and clocked up 15,243 minutes played for his country.

 

Belgium striker Michy Batshuayi is desperate to transfer his form for his country to his club after the international break.

Batshuayi scored both of Belgium's goals in a 2-1 friendly win over Switzerland on Wednesday – converting both of his attempts of the game.

The 27-year-old took his tally to 21 goals for Belgium, with five of those coming in his last three games for the Red Devils.

However, it has been a different story in the Premier League with Batshuayi, who is on loan at Crystal Palace from Chelsea, yet to find the net in five games this season.

"Why do I score so easily here? That's a question I ask myself," Batshuayi told RTL Sport.

"It's a bit annoying but I don't think about the past, I'm going forward. Personally, it feels good to score two goals.

"It shows that I have qualities, I have to try to perform well in the club as in the national team."

Belgium's win was a fortunate one, as they managed a total of seven shots in total compared to Switzerland's 12.

The Swiss also enjoyed more possession – 51.5 per cent to 48.5 per cent – and completed more passes (632 to 594) as well as winning more duels (40 to 38)

Batshuayi felt it was a challenging game for Roberto Martinez's side, with many of their stellar names rested ahead of their Nations League clash with England on Sunday.

"It was difficult, it's a team that is very physical. We knew that from last year when they eliminated us in the Nations League," added Batshuayi.

"It's a good test match for newcomers and for me. The thing to remember is that there were a lot of new players.

"They listened very well to the coach's instructions and it really feels good to win this kind of victory."

Michy Batshuayi scored twice for Belgium as the number one FIFA-ranked team in the world laboured to a 2-1 win over Switzerland in a low-key international friendly.

Admir Mehmedi gave the Swiss the lead early on at the Den Dreef Stadion in Leuven with a crisp low finish past Belgium goalkeeper Simon Mignolet.

Batshuayi equalised for Belgium early in the second half with an angled finish after an intelligent pass from Youri Tielemans.

The 27-year-old striker then took his tally to 21 goals for Belgium, scoring his second of the game with a shot on the turn from close range to seal victory with 20 minutes left.

Germany's Toni Kroos made his 100th international appearance in a 3-3 draw with Switzerland on Tuesday, but insisted he cares more for results than the number of games he plays.

Serge Gnabry's superb finish on the hour secured a point in Nations League Group A4 for Germany, who had to come from two goals down in Cologne.

Switzerland raced into a 2-0 lead through Mario Gavranovic and Remo Freuler, though Timo Werner swiftly pulled one back before Kai Havertz equalised.

Gavranovic's second put Switzerland back ahead, only for Gnabry to restore parity once more with his 14th international goal since November 2016.

Though Kroos made a landmark appearance, his error ultimately led to Switzerland's second goal, and though content with reaching a century of caps, the 30-year-old said winning titles means much more to him than personal accolades.

"It was of course a special game for me. To have reached 100, that's a nice mark. But anyone who knows me knows that I care more about results and titles than appearances," Kroos said.

"But of course, 100 games is something nice. In the past I have played with incredibly good footballers and guys. I hope that we can build on these successes with the current team.

"Our problem was the first 10 or 15 minutes. After that we played a good game and improved our footballing skills to the last game. In the end we are not satisfied with the point because we aim to win the game."

Kroos is one of the old guard in Germany's squad, with Joachim Low having stood by his decision not to select Mats Hummels and Thomas Muller, despite the latter's sensational form for Bayern Munich.

Havertz, who took his goal brilliantly and looked sharp alongside his Chelsea team-mate Werner, believes the comeback is a step in the right direction for Germany, who have managed just one win so far in 2020.

"We came back after many setbacks, we showed our morals," Havertz said.

"We are in a process, we have a young team. We will not be dissuaded from our path and will keep trying. We have to defend more intelligently, but we saw good beginnings today."

Head coach Low added: "The game was incredibly intense. Both teams risked a lot, but also made a lot of mistakes. 

"We got into the game badly, then we showed very good morale. That was certainly positive. But we made some mistakes at the back. We consciously risked a lot, made mistakes, we have to fix that."

Germany produced a superb fightback as Serge Gnabry's excellent finish secured a 3-3 draw against Switzerland in Nations League Group A4.

Momentum swung between the sides in a frantic encounter at RheinEnergieSTADION on Wednesday, with Germany coming back from a two-goal deficit.

Chelsea duo Timo Werner and Kai Havertz got those goals, cancelling out efforts from Mario Gavranovic and Remo Freuler. 

Gavranovic's second – a thumping strike from close range – restored Switzerland's lead, though Gnabry's wonderful flick on the hour ultimately claimed a share of the spoils in Cologne, where Fabian Schar was sent off late on.

Manuel Neuer made a fine save to deny Xherdan Shaqiri in the fourth minute, but Germany's goalkeeper was picking the ball out of the net a moment later – Gavranovic looping in a wonderful header after the hosts failed to clear the resulting corner.

Germany succumbed again in the 26th minute. Toni Kroos, on his 100th cap, gifted possession to Switzerland, with Freuler lifting an exquisite finish over the onrushing Neuer.

A response was required and it came inside two minutes, as Werner caught Switzerland's defence cold with a crisp finish across Yann Sommer, and Switzerland's hard work was undone after the interval.

Having already struck the woodwork, Havertz pounced on Schar's slack pass and finished calmly beyond Sommer.

But parity was short-lived, and Switzerland retook the lead just under two minutes later when Gavranovic hammered home on the rebound following Neuer's save from Haris Seferovic.

Germany were not to be beaten, though, and Gnabry's brilliant back-heel from Werner's cut-back made it 3-3.

Kroos went close to capping his landmark with a winner when a free-kick sailed just wide, before Sommer denied substitute Julian Draxler, with Switzerland reduced to 10 in stoppage time when Schar received his second booking.

Spain boss Luis Enrique has defended Ansu Fati after he struggled to impact the 1-0 victory over Switzerland in the Nations League.

The 17-year-old Barcelona winger, who is his country's youngest ever goalscorer, played 57 minutes in Madrid before being replaced by Wolves star Adama Traore.

Fati failed to capitalise on two good openings in the match, managing just one shot and creating zero opportunities for team-mates.

He also failed to muster a cross and lost four of his seven duels as Switzerland's 3-5-2 system proved tricky to break down, with Silvan Widmer and Nico Elvedi providing tough opposition down the Spain left.

"Man-marking is always a problem for the forwards, for everyone," Luis Enrique said on Monday as Spain prepare to face Ukraine. 

"Our goal is to create the greatest number of advantages for our attackers. After that, each game is how it is.

"Ansu is 17 years old, but he already knows what he's going to find in matches.

"We have our model because it depends on the work of the whole team. Against Switzerland, it was a difficult game for everyone because of the strong and high pressing from them, but I think we solved things well."

Spain's attack was also frustrated in a 0-0 draw with Portugal last week, but defensively the 2010 world champions have looked impressive.

In a 15-game unbeaten run stretching back to November 2018, La Roja have conceded only six goals and kept nine clean sheets.

Luis Enrique is happy to see the likes of Pau Torres, Eric Garcia and Diego Llorente perform well in a battle for a starting spot and also believes the younger players can help captain Sergio Ramos improve.

"Pau, Eric and Diego have done well, each one contributing in their place and trying to improve," he said.

"They are able to play with someone who is a benchmark, like Ramos, and they feel they can play with him, help him and even correct him. Leaders also know they can learn new things."

Spain coach Luis Enrique would not have his side denied credit for their goal against Switzerland, insisting it came about because of La Roja's mentality rather than an error by the visitors.

Luis Enrique saw his side claim a slender 1-0 victory over Switzerland in Madrid on Saturday, with Mikel Oyarzabal's 14th-minute effort ultimately decisive.

The Real Sociedad attacker provided a neat finish after a sloppy pass from Yann Sommer gifted possession back to Spain as Switzerland attempted to play out from the back.

The situation was exacerbated by Granit Xhaka – the intended recipient of the pass – slipping, and Mikel Merino managed to nudge the ball through to his club colleague to add the finish.

While most will likely blame Sommer's mistake for the goal, Luis Enrique believes it was more down to the success of Spain's high press.

"It was not their failure, it was a great success from the pressure of Spain," he told reporters.

"The reward was huge, it is a great win for the team. I remember only one clear chance for Switzerland, whereas we could have finished the game off in several situations, with Ferran [Torres] in the first half and several in the second, but it is not easy.

"There is nothing I did not like about the performance. To pressure a team like Switzerland, who had three centre-backs and two midfield pivots, is complicated.

"I am also proud of the final stages of the game. At other times we would have gone backwards and today we have done the opposite, we continued to go forward so they couldn't create chances."

The victory extended Spain's unbeaten run to 15 games, while they remain top of Nations League Group A4 with seven points – two more than Germany – from three matches.

Spain go to Ukraine next on Tuesday.

Spain stretched their unbeaten run to 15 matches across all competitions as they beat Switzerland 1-0 in Madrid on Saturday to remain in charge of Group A4 in the Nations League.

Luis Enrique's men had impressed without finding the net in their friendly draw with Portugal last time out, but Mikel Oyarzabal – the winger chosen to lead the line against the Swiss – provided the decisive touch in the 14th minute to leave La Roja with seven points from three games.

Although Switzerland threatened first, it was a rare attack in an opening half dominated by Spain, who opened the scoring soon after through Real Sociedad star Oyarzabal's well-taken finish following a defensive mishap by the visitors.

Spain crafted several opportunities to extend their advantage in the second period, and while they were ultimately unsuccessful, the away side's lack of potency in attack meant one goal was enough.

Xherdan Shaqiri has been given the green light to feature for Switzerland in Saturday's Nations League clash against Spain in Madrid after another negative test for coronavirus.

The Liverpool winger was originally set to miss the double header against Spain and Germany after testing positive for COVID-19, which meant he sat out the 2-1 friendly defeat to Croatia on Wednesday.

However, when a later test came back negative Shaqiri was granted permission to travel to Spain, although his availability for the clash remained unclear.

The Swiss Football Association confirmed on Friday that Shaqiri has now been cleared to play.

A statement read: "The Spanish health authority gave the green light late on Friday evening for Xherdan Shaqiri to play in the UEFA Nations League game on Saturday 10 October 2020 between Spain and Switzerland in Madrid. 

"The decisive factor was the national player's additional negative COVID-19 test, which has been available since tonight [Friday].

"In addition to Shaqiri, all players and staff members of the Swiss national team were also tested negative in Madrid."

Luis Enrique has made it clear that Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets will not necessarily be at Euro 2020 if he does not maintain his form.

A winner of the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012, Busquets has earned 118 caps for La Roja since making his debut in 2009.

He remains a key figure at the heart of midfield for club and country and captained the side that drew 0-0 with Portugal in Lisbon on Tuesday.

However, Busquets will be a month short of his 33rd birthday when the postponed Euro 2020 finals begin next June and his starting spot with Spain is already under pressure from Manchester City midfielder Rodri.

Luis Enrique cannot guarantee Busquets will be part of his plans next year if he is not able to sustain his performance levels.

"If he maintains the level of the last 11 years, he'll be at the Euros. If he lowers it, we'll see," said the Spain boss.

"He's a veteran and he's the first to know how this goes. In the end, there comes a time when age counts for everything.

"It's the rule of life. Nobody spends 28 years in the national team."

One player who has forced his way into Luis Enrique's plans is Wolves winger Adama Traore, who made his debut off the bench against Portugal.

The winger's speed, trickery and imposing physique make him a weapon unlike any other at Spain's disposal in attack, and his head coach is delighted to see him flourishing.

He also confirmed Traore's upper-body size is from genetics and general conditioning, not from hours of heavy lifting.

"His case his special. He doesn't lift weights – it's true what he says," the former Barca boss said.

"He's a footballer who doesn't only have speed and an enviable physical structure. It's skill, it's power, it's strength, it's the capacity to hold onto the ball.

"He's a very sensible and thorough person. I'm really glad he's doing well.

"There's no single tactic for a player. There are tactics that try to promote individual qualities from a collective vision.

"A profile like Adama's is unusual. Those qualities are hard to find at this level and we'll try to integrate him into our team."

Spain play their third game of Nations League Group A4 on Saturday against Switzerland at Real Madrid's Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano.

The match is due to go ahead despite Madrid having been put back into a state of alarm as a result of rising coronavirus cases over the past two months.

"The players can't be worried," Luis Enrique said. "We'd like the news to be otherwise, to be able to play with fans [attending].

"We're living in a bubble, with tests every few days, without contact with people from outside... there's a general wish that this can be resolved as soon as possible."

Switzerland forward Xherdan Shaqiri has tested negative for coronavirus and has been granted permission to travel to Spain ahead of Saturday's Nations League clash.

Shaqiri became the third Liverpool player in the space of a week to test positive for the virus on Tuesday and was ruled out of Switzerland's 2-1 friendly loss to Croatia on Wednesday.

The 28-year-old was also expected to sit out the games against Spain and Germany in the Nations League over the next five days but his latest test has come back negative, though he is still awaiting the green light from UEFA to play in both games.

However, team-mate Manuel Akanji - who like Shaqiri has spent time self-isolating - has once again tested positive, which could have a knock-on effect for club side Borussia Dortmund.

"The Swiss Football Association received this morning the written results of the national team A Covid-19 tests carried out yesterday on all players and staff," a statement read. 

"Only Manuel Akanji tested positive. All other tests are negative, including that of Xherdan Shaqiri. 

"There is currently only one positive case for the coronavirus in the national team. Akanji is in isolation and still has no symptoms. Other medical examinations are underway. 

"All other national team players and staff will fly to Spain this afternoon, where the UEFA Nations League game against the Group A leaders takes place on Saturday.

"Following Xherdan Shaqiri's negative Covid-19 test, the UEFA health committee must now decide on his eligibility to play on Saturday. 

"At this stage, it is impossible to know when the decision will be taken. Shaqiri flies to Spain as planned."

Shaqiri has played just once for Liverpool this season and has yet to feature in a Premier League matchday squad.

Sadio Mane and Thiago Alcantara are the other two Liverpool players to have contracted COVID-19 over the past fortnight.

Xherdan Shaqiri has become the third Liverpool player to test positive for coronavirus over the past week.

The forward, who remained at Anfield despite having been linked to the likes of Sevilla and Lazio ahead of deadline day, travelled to link up with the Switzerland squad on Monday.

However, the Swiss Football Association on Tuesday revealed Shaqiri returned a positive test for COVID-19 and he will now undergo a period of self-isolation.

"Xherdan Shaqiri has tested positive for Covid-19. In consultation with the health authorities, he is in isolation," a statement read.

"The strict protective measures and requirements of UEFA for national teams in accordance with the 'UEFA Return to Play Protocol' have been strictly adhered to since the move began.

"Based on this, clarifications are currently underway with the local health authorities about how to proceed."

Shaqiri consequently misses Switzerland's friendly against Croatia and Nations League fixtures with Spain and Germany.

He is the third player in Liverpool's squad to test positive for the virus since last week, with Thiago Alcantara – who arrived from Bayern Munich in the transfer window – confirming he had contracted COVID-19 last Tuesday.

It was then revealed Sadio Mane had also tested positive last Friday, with Liverpool then going on to lose 7-2 at Aston Villa on Sunday.

All three players could still play against Everton in the Merseyside derby on October 17, though, as protocols require those with positive tests to go through a quarantine period of 10 days.

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