England qualify for next stage of Euros before final game amid Covid confusion

England have qualified for the Euro 2020 knockout phase without kicking a ball at the end of a chaotic day that saw Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell go into isolation after Scotland's Billy Gilmour tested positive for coronavirus.

Tuesday, 22nd June 2021, 8:00 am

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The Scottish FA announced on Monday morning that the 20-year-old midfielder had returned a positive Covid-19 result and would miss Tuesday's crunch Group D encounter with Croatia.

Gilmour helped boost Scotland's qualification hopes with a man-of-the-match display in Friday's 0-0 draw at Wembley, where he interacted with Chelsea team-mates Mount and Chilwell.

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The availability of Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell, here in England training with Dominic Calvert-Lewin (right), for tonight's group decider against the Czech Republic was unclear last night after they 'interacted' with Scotland's Covid-positive Billy Gilmour

The England pair are having to isolate on the eve of Tuesday's game against the Czech Republic as a precaution following consultation with Public Health England, with discussions about the situation ongoing.

The fact Gilmour's positive results appears to be having a bigger impact on the Three Lions than Scotland has left Gareth Southgate confused, but any stress over qualification was removed by results elsewhere on Monday.

Four of the best third-placed teams at the rearranged Euros progress to the knockout phase, with England's four-point haul now guaranteed to put them in that bracket whatever happens against the pool-leading Czechs.

Southgate is braced to be without Mount and Chilwell for Tuesday's match, despite the pair producing negative lateral-flow tests on Monday afternoon following negative results in Sunday's round of UEFA pre-match PCR tests.

Asked about the duo's availability for the group decider, the England manager said: "Well, we don't know at the moment.

"There's obviously got to be quite a doubt, but there's still a lot of discussions and investigations going on behind the scenes, so at the moment they're isolating and we just have to find out over the last 12 hours or so."

He added: "In terms of the team, we'll need to go through details with the players in the morning really, so we'll have to know by first thing in the morning of their availability and if not we'll just have to play on without them."

A PHE spokesperson told the PA news agency that it was "working with the FA to identify close contacts of Billy Gilmour and any risk to other players and staff", and indicated any decision to tell players from the England team to isolate was made by the Football Association.

Southgate, who had been due to have Mount alongside him at the pre-match press conference on Monday evening, said: "We had worked with the players this morning on the training pitch so then of course we find out when we finish that this is the situation.

"I can't say it isn't disruptive. We don't really know at this point whether they might be OK for (Tuesday) or they could be out for 10 days so there are a lot of unknowns frankly at this moment in time."

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