Pedri has belatedly been given a break from Barcelona duty after featuring in their first two matches of the 2021-22 season.

The Spain midfielder posted a picture from his aeroplane to social media as he headed back to his home in Tenerife.

Barca shared the image with the caption, "deserved vacation".

Pedri will not play for the Blaugrana against Getafe next Sunday, while it remains to be seen if he will be called up by Luis Enrique for the subsequent international break.

The 18-year-old would return to Catalonia in time for Barca's LaLiga clash with Sevilla on September 12.

Pedri had played only a single season with Las Palmas before linking up with Ronald Koeman's Barca at the start of the 2020-21 campaign, but he quickly became a key man.

Since his debut last September, only Bruno Fernandes and Manu Trigueros (both 56) have appeared in more club games across all competitions than Pedri (54, tied with Marcus Rashford) among players in Europe's top five leagues.

But Pedri has also turned out 10 times for the senior Spain team in that period, including in all six matches in their run to the Euro 2020 semi-finals.

And there were a further six appearances at the Tokyo Olympics as the teenager helped Spain take silver.

Having started his 2020-21 season in the Spain Under-21 team on September 3, 2020 – with four games at that level – Pedri has played 74 matches for club and country in less than a year.

Koeman was asked about Pedri's impending departure following Saturday's 1-1 draw at Athletic Bilbao, in which he was substituted after 62 minutes.

"It's better to give him a break now, so as not to have problems in the month of November," the coach explained.

Spain have confirmed no more players nor coaching staff have tested positive for coronavirus after a recent outbreak in their camp.

Defender Diego Llorente tested positive on Tuesday and was put into isolation, two days after Sergio Busquets was confirmed to have contracted the virus.

Spain suspended all training activity and fielded their Under-21s for Tuesday's final pre-Euro 2020 friendly with Lithuania, which they won 4-0 in Leganes.

Luis Enrique has created a parallel training bubble made up of standby players, including Rodrigo Moreno, Pablo Fornals, Carlos Soler, Brais Mendez, Raul Albiol, Kepa Arrizabalaga and 11 of their Under-21s squad.

There had been fears the virus could spiral out of control, but all other members of the squad and coaching staff – plus those in the parallel bubble – returned negative tests on Wednesday.

The Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) confirmed the news in a statement on its official website, with further tests to be conducted in the coming days.

Spain begin their Euro 2020 campaign against Sweden in Seville next Monday, before facing Poland and Slovakia in their other two Group E fixtures.

Spain have retained 11 of their Under-21 players who featured against Lithuania on Tuesday, with Luis Enrique's Euro 2020 squad having been hit by coronavirus cases.

La Roja's preparations for the tournament were hit by Sergio Busquets' positive coronavirus test on Sunday, with the entire team forced into isolation.

Tuesday's friendly against Lithuania also had to be re-arranged, with the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) promoting their entire Under-21s side, though La Rojita took their opportunity to impress.

Hugo Guillamon, Brahim Diaz, Juan Miranda and Javi Puado scored in a 4-0 win, but it was confirmed after the match that another member of the senior squad – Leeds United centre-back Diego Llorente – had tested positive for COVID-19.

Luis Enrique had already created a parallel training bubble with standby players, including Rodrigo Moreno, Pablo Fornals, Carlos Soler, Brais Mendez, Raul Albiol and Kepa Arrizabalaga.

With Spain starting their campaign against Sweden on Monday, 11 of the players who played against Lithuania have now been added to the separate training bubble.

Alvaro Fernandez, Oscar Mingueza, Marc Cucurella, Miranda, Gonzalo Villar, Alejandro Pozo, Diaz, Martin Zubimendi, Yeremy Pino, Puado and Bryan Gil – the only player to feature on Tuesday having represented the senior side in the past – are the youngsters selected by Luis Enrique, who only named 24 players in his initial squad.

Spain's youngsters had no problems cruising to a straightforward 4-0 win over Lithuania on Tuesday as the Under-21s filled in for the senior side's final pre-Euro 2020 warm-up match due to coronavirus protocols.

Sergio Busquets' positive COVID-19 test on Sunday threw Spain's European Championship preparations into disarray as the situation forced the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) to promote their entire Under-21s side, though La Rojita took their opportunity to impress.

Spain quickly showed they were a cut above Lithuania and opened the scoring inside three minutes, Hugo Guillamon slamming home from 16 yards after Manu Garcia's low cross was deflected back towards the edge of the box.

It was 2-0 with less than half an hour played when Brahim Diaz drilled across goal after being afforded a lot of space in the box following an incisive pass from Gonzalo Villar.

Lithuania were fortunate not to concede further goals before the break, as Tomas Svedkauskas saved Abel Ruiz's feeble penalty after Markas Beneta wrestled Bryan Gil – the only Spain player with a prior senior cap – to the ground, while the goalkeeper also denied Oscar Mingueza from point-blank range.

Half-time substitute Juan Miranda took just seven minutes to get his name on the scoresheet, with Svedkauskas only able to tip the Real Betis left-back's free-kick against the inside of the post and in.

Javi Puado, another introduced from the bench, made it 4-0 with 18 minutes to go as he latched on to Bryan's incisive chipped pass, skipped past a defender and blasted beyond Svedkauskas.

Although Spain could not match the 5-0 win they recorded over Lithuania back in 1993, their Under-21s at least showed they have plenty of talent in reserve should they be needed in the Euros.
 

Spain have added Raul Albiol to the group of players on standby to plug holes in Luis Enrique's Euro 2020 squad if COVID-19 strikes any further blows.

Captain Sergio Busquets tested positive for coronavirus on Sunday and was taken away from the national team training camp, although it is hoped he will be able to return.

Subsequent tests on remaining players and staff have all showed up negative results, but Spain are erring on the side of caution by ensuring they have suitable reinforcements if needed.

That is why versatile Villarreal defender Albiol, a 56-cap international who won the Europa League with his club side last month, comes into the picture at the age of 35.

With the senior squad in isolation and training individually, it will be a Spain Under-21 team who line up in a friendly against Lithuania on Tuesday, but senior caps will be awarded.

It was also announced on Monday that Leeds United forward Rodrigo Moreno and three midfielders in West Ham's Pablo Fornals, Valencia's Carlos Soler and Celta Vigo's Brais Mendez would be called in to train in a 'parallel bubble', being ready to step in should Luis Enrique's squad be depleted.

Spain's opening game against Sweden at Euro 2020 takes place on June 14 in Seville.

While the senior squad suck up the blow of missing out on a final international before the tournament begins, Spain Under-21 boss Luis de la Fuente will give his youngsters a "dream" outing.

De la Fuente said in a news conference: "This does not change the way I work, nor my responsibility and my professionalism. The players, like me, will be very excited to represent Spain.

"For us it is a great dream. I guarantee that the players and the coaching staff are only think about winning."

He said the match day would be "a beautiful day because the boys are going to show their potential".

Florian Wirtz scored twice in eight minutes as Germany beat the Netherlands 2-1 to book their place in the European Under-21 Championship final, where they will face Portugal.

Matters went from one extreme to the other for the Netherlands, who beat France in the quarter-finals thanks to a last-gasp goal from Myron Boadu but found themselves behind inside the first minute when Wirtz converted Lukas Nmecha's cross.

Rising Bayer Leverkusen star Wirtz followed up the fastest goal in Euro Under-21 finals history with his second soon after, drilling home from inside the box after good work from Ridle Baku.

Mergim Berisha hit the post with a free-kick as Germany threatened to run away with the semi-final. The Salzburg man cursed his luck twice more on the hour mark, a fierce strike crashing off the post before a header again came off the woodwork seconds later.

Perr Schuurs steered the ball home from close range with 67 minutes played but a comeback never looked too likely as Germany reached a third successive final, equalling the record set by Italy between 1992 and 1996.

They will now meet Portugal, who have won all three of their previous meetings with Germany in this competition, following their 1-0 win over Spain.

The holders had 20 shots to their opponents' six, with Marc Cucurella hitting the woodwork, but they were undone on the break with 10 minutes remaining when Fabio Vieira's delivery struck Jorge Cuenca and looped in.

It was Spain's first Euro Under-21 defeat, including qualifying matches, since 2019.

European Under-21 Championship favourites France were knocked out as the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Germany claimed semi-final spots.

France, boasting a squad littered with senior internationals that included some of the hottest prospects in European football, lost 2-1 to the Netherlands thanks to Myron Boadu's last-gasp goal.

Dayot Upamecano, who will play for Bayern Munich in 2021-22 following his move from RB Leipzig, opened the scoring for Les Bleus, but Boadu equalised early in the second half.

And despite finishing with 14 attempts – six of them on target – France suffered a disappointing exit when Boadu finished on the counter in the 93rd minute, Houssem Aouar having headed a glaring chance over at the other end.

That game was the only one on Monday not to go to extra time.

Two goals from substitute Javier Puado put holders Spain through at the expense of Croatia, who had equalised through Luka Ivanusec's 94th-minute penalty.

Portugal and Italy then played out an eight-goal thriller.

Dany Mota's brilliant double – which included an exceptional overhead kick to break the deadlock – put Portugal into a commanding lead, only for Italy to hit back through Tommaso Pobega.

Goncalo Ramos' goal seemed to have settled the contest, yet Gianluca Scamacca and Patrick Cutrone made it 3-3 at the end of 90 minutes.

However, Matteo Lovato's second booking dented Italy's chances in the first extra period, setting the stage for Jota and Francisco Conceicao to seal a 5-3 win for Portugal, who will face Spain in the last four.

The other tie was settled by penalties, Germany and Denmark having finished level at 2-2 after 120 minutes.

It required sudden death in the spot-kick scenario too, but Victor Kristansen saw his effort saved before Paul Jaeckel made no mistake to seal a 6-5 shootout win, with the Netherlands coming next for the 2019 finalists.

 

Spain and Italy have joined fellow heavyweights Netherlands and Germany in the European Under-21 Championship quarter-finals.

All four sides picked up the results they required in Tuesday's final round of fixtures in Groups A and B to advance through to the knockout stages later this year.

Germany were pushed all the way by Romania in one of the early kick-offs, a goalless draw in Budapest enough to send the 2019 runners-up through on goal difference at Romania's expense.

Romania, now unbeaten in their last seven group matches in the competition, hit the post through Alexandru Matan in the first half and had a shot blocked on the line.

But a point apiece was just about the right outcome in the end as Amos Pieper was also denied by the frame of the goal in the second half and Lukas Nmecha missed a penalty.

The Netherlands had far less trouble seeing off tournament joint-hosts Hungary as they ran out 6-1 winners at MOL Arena Sosto to pip Germany to top spot in Group A by virtue of a superior head-to-head record.

Dani de Wit opened the scoring three minutes before half-time and Cody Gakpo, who set up that goal, scored two of the Netherlands' five second-half goals

Myron Boadu was also on target from the penalty spot for the Netherlands, before Sven Botman and substitute Brian Brobbey got in on the act late on, rendering Bendeguz Bolla's own spot-kick little more than a consolation. 

Holders Spain had a couple of second-half Dani Gomez goals to thank for their 2-0 win over the Czech Republic, who required a victory in Celje to keep their tournament participation alive.

The Levante forward was brought on with 65 minutes played and did not take long to do what his team-mates could not in breaking down a stubborn Czech side after being teed up by Ander Barrenetxea.

Gomez volleyed in a second nine minutes later and that proved enough to seal first place in Group B, despite an emphatic 4-0 win for Italy in their meeting with Slovenia at Stadion Ljudski vrt.

Record five-time winners Italy were two goals ahead inside 19 minutes via clinical finishes from Giulio Maggiore and Giacomo Raspadori, which Patrick Cutrone added to from the penalty spot six minutes later.

Cutrone missed a second spot-kick on the verge of half-time, though it ultimately mattered little as he bagged an impressive second five minutes into the second period.

The only negative for Italy was substitute Riccardo Marchizza's late dismissal after receiving two yellow cards - the centre-back's second sending-off in this year's tournament.

Spain, Italy, Germany and the Netherlands will discover their quarter-final opponents on Wednesday when the final round of group fixtures take place, with the knockout stages to begin in late May.

Spain were made to wait for a place in the quarter-finals of the European Under-21 Championship as they were held to a goalless draw by nine-man Italy after Romania broke Hungary hearts.

Holders Spain had not failed to score in 26 Euro U21 matches, but the holders fired a blank at Stadion Ljudski vrt in Maribor on Saturday.

Italy had Gianluca Scamacca and Nicolo Rovella dismissed for second bookable offences in a dramatic finale, while Spain's Oscar Mingueza was also sent off as tempers flared.

Davide Frattesi's shot was tipped onto the crossbar by Spain goalkeeper Alvaro Fernandez in a stalemate that leaves Spain two points clear of Italy and the Czech Republic in Group B.

The Czech Republic needed a late Nik Prelec own goal to secure a 1-1 draw that was a hammer blow to co-hosts Slovenia after Aljosa Matko opened the scoring in the first half.

Spain will be expected to get the job done when they face the Czech Republic on Tuesday, with battling Italy well placed to advance ahead of their encounter with Slovenia.

Romania shattered Hungary's hopes of qualifying by coming from behind to beat the co-hosts 2-1, moving up to second in Group A.

Andras Csonka put Hungary in front after 56 minutes at the Bozsik Arena despite Adrian Szoke's first-half dismissal for two bookable offences, but Alexandru Matan and Alex Pascanu won it late on.

Germany lead the way after Lukas Nmecha salvaged a 1-1 draw against the Netherlands, who took the lead through Justin Kluivert at Sostoi Stadion in Szekesfehervar.

The Netherlands are two points adrift of Germany and Romania, who meet on Tuesday when the Dutch take on Hungary.

Spain and Germany eased to 3-0 wins over Slovenia and Hungary respectively in their opening 2021 European Under-21 Championship fixtures on Wednesday.

Holders Spain found Slovenia tough to break down before Javier Puado and Gonzalo Villar struck in the space of 108 seconds early in the second half.

Igor Vekic made eight saves to keep Slovenia in the game, but Juan Miranda added a late third to get Spain's title defence off to a positive start in Maribor.

Germany's clash with Slovenia's fellow co-hosts Hungary panned out in a similar manner, with the 2019 runners-up failing to find a way through until just after the hour mark.

Anderlecht's on-loan Manchester City forward Lukas Nmecha continued his fine form by powering in a header to break Hungary's resolve and Bote Baku, who assisted that goal, added a quickfire double to seal the win.

The other Group A fixture between Romania and the Netherlands finished 1-1 thanks to Andrei Ciobanu's impressive free-kick to cancel out Perr Schuurs' opener.

The Netherlands, competing in this tournament for the first time in eight years, had to hold on towards the end to claim a point against the 2019 semi-finalists in a cagey contest.

Wednesday's other match also finished 1-1, although Italy had two players sent off late on against the Czech Republic.

Gianluca Scamacca opened the scoring with a composed finish after 31 minutes, but the Czechs fought back well and levelled through an unfortunate Giulio Maggiore own goal.

Italy then had Sandro Tonali sent off six minutes from time for kicking out at Ondrej Sasinka, while Riccardo Marchizza followed in added time for a foul on Vaclav Drchal, earning a second yellow card.

The disappointing stalemate for the nine-man Azzurri leaves them two points behind early Group B leaders Spain.

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