Diogo Dalot called up as replacement
Portugal’s preparations for Euro 2020 have suffered a blow with the news that first-choice right-back João Cancelo has had to pull out of the tournament two days before the Seleção’s first match against Hungary after testing positive for Covid-19.
It is a huge personal blow for Cancelo, who has just played the best campaign of his career, having been voted into the official English Premier League team of the season. It is also a setback for Portugal. Cancelo was an important component of the team as exemplified by his man-of-the-match display in the final pre-tournament friendly against Israel on Wednesday.
Under-21 right-back Diogo Dalot has been called up as replacement. Dalot has never played for the senior team, but has been a staple in Portugal’s youth teams, racking up 71 caps for the Seleção at the various under-age levels.
News of Cancelo’s forced omission from Euro 2020 broke on Sunday morning. A press release from the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) explained that Cancelo returned a positive result from a routine rapid diagnostic antigen test carried out on Saturday by the FPF Health and Performance team.
The Hungarian authorities were immediately informed and Cancelo, who is asymptomatic, went into isolation. The Manchester City player also took a real-time PCR test on Saturday. The positive result was confirmed on Sunday morning.
In line with UEFA’s Covid-19 protocol, all players and members of the national team delegation took a RT-PCR test on Saturday. All the results – apart for João Cancelo’s – were negative.
By Tom Kundert