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Raft of international games called off

A host of international fixtures that were likely to involve Newcastle United players have already been either postponed or cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon have been called off. Miguel Almirón’s Paraguay had been scheduled to kick off the former with a game against Peru on 26th March before travelling to Venezuela five days later, but their campaign will now not begin until September at the earliest. AFCON holders Algeria, meanwhile – for whom the Magpies’ Nabil Bentaleb has turned out 35 times – will have to wait to clinch their place at next year’s competition.

Elsewhere, a four-team Euro 2020 warm-up tournament involving Belgium, Croatia, Portugal and Fabian Schär’s Switzerland has been cancelled. Similarly, back to back friendly games in Europe for DeAndre Yedlin and the United States – against the Netherlands and Wales – will no longer go ahead.

However, at the time of writing, two United players could yet turn out for their countries this month. Emil Krafth’s Sweden are still scheduled to play friendlies against Russia and Cyprus, though both are set to take place behind closed doors. Valentino Lazaro and Austria find themselves in a similar position, with Das Team’s friendly against Turkey on 30th March on as it stands. Their game against Wales, planned for the 26th, has been cancelled, though.

The government has advised the public to follow the latest NHS guidelines, which can be found at nhs.uk/coronavirus.

Anyone who suspects they may have symptoms consistent with Covid-19 should use the NHS's online 111 service at 111.nhs.uk.

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