England’s 2020 European Championship prospects have been boosted by UEFA’s decision to hand Wembley Stadium a second round-of-16 tie at the tournament following the decision to strip Dublin and Bilbao of hosting rights due to their failure guarantee that supporters will be allowed to attend games this summer.
Wembley had been scheduled to host seven games — three group fixtures, a round-of-16 tie, two semifinals and the final — but the inability of the Irish government to sanction the return of fans to games at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium has prompted UEFA to remove the city as one of the tournament’s 12 host cities.
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Dublin’s three group games involving Poland, Slovakia and Sweden have been moved to St. Petersburg’s Krestovksy Stadium, but the round-of-16 tie originally scheduled for the Irish capital has been switched to Wembley.
“We have been working diligently with the host associations and local authorities to ensure a safe and festive environment at the games and I am really pleased that we are able to welcome spectators at all matches for a celebration of national team football across the continent,” UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin said in a statement.
If England finish top of Group D, ahead of Croatia, Scotland and Czech Republic, Gareth Southgate’s team will face the runners-up of Group F — Germany, France, Portugal or Hungary — at Wembley.
In the event of England winning Euro 2020 having finished top of their group, they would play six of their seven games at Wembley, with the only game outside of London being a potential quarterfinal in Rome, Italy.
Concerns over Munich’s ability to host its scheduled four games have been allayed, with the German authorities giving the Allianz Arena the green light to open for at least 25% of capacity.
But the San Mames Stadium in Bilbao, which was due to stage Spain’s three Group E games and a round-of-16 tie, has lost its right to host games.
UEFA has decided to move those fixtures to Estadio de la Cartuja in Seville, the host venue of the 2003 UEFA Cup final, due to fans being allowed into grounds in southern Spain.