Anderlecht youngsters Jeremy Doku and Landry Dimata have been handed their maiden senior call-ups for Belgium, although there was no place for Michy Batshuayi or Christian Benteke in Robert Martinez's squad for next month's Nations League matches against Denmark and Iceland.

Winger Doku, 18, has established himself as a first-team fixture at Anderlecht over the past year, where Dimata, 22, has returned after missing the entirety of last season with knee damage by scoring two in the opening three Pro League games of 2020-21.

"Doku is an exceptional talent," Martinez said. "He brings something very important in modern football and that is his qualities in one-on-one situations.

"Dimata has a special profile. A number nine is a very important profile for us.

"Just that he has already played three matches can be important for us. We have always rated him highly and think this is a good time to include him in the group. "

Benteke has been a mainstay in Martinez's squads up until this point despite a dwindling goals return – he managed six over the course of the previous three Premier League seasons at Crystal Palace – while Batshuayi has struggled for opportunities at Chelsea, where the arrival of Timo Werner does little for his prospects.

"On Batshuayi and Benteke we have had direct contact with their clubs and it turned out that it was better that they did not travel and did not leave the training camp," Martinez said. 

"It is not a football decision. Benteke is in our plans. Batshuayi had a difficult season, but has a lot of credit because of what he did before for the national team. "

Explaining his selections, Martinez suggested players competing in Belgium's domestic competition, such as three-times capped Anderlecht midfielder Yari Verschaeren, had been granted an advantage due to their season already being up and running.

"September will be a strange period," he said. "Some players are coming out of a rest period, so it is a good time to use players who have already gained rhythm.

"Especially for players with a great future. It will be a good experience for players like Doku and Verschaeren."

Thomas Vermaelen was not named in the 29-man group, but Martinez explained the Vissel Kobe defender would be added if his travel from Japan could be cleared.

Belgium travel to face Denmark on September 5 before hosting Iceland three days later in Group A2, which also features England.

Belgium squad:

Koen Casteels (Wolfsburg), Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid), Simon Mignolet (Club Brugge), Hendrik van Crombrugge (Anderlecht); Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham), Dedryck Boyata (Hertha Berlin), Elias Cobbaut (Anderlecht), Jason Denayer (Lyon), Leander Dendoncker (Wolves), Brandon Mechele (Club Brugge), Jan Vertonghen (Benfica), Timothy Castagne (Atalanta), Thomas Meunier (Borussia Dortmund); Yannick Carrasco (Atletico Madrid), Nacer Chadli (Monaco), Thorgan Hazard (Borussia Dortmund), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), Dennis Praet (Leicester City), Youri Tielemans (Leicester City), Hans Vanaken (Club Brugge), Axel Witsel (Borussia Dortmund), Eden Hazard (Real Madrid), Yari Verschaeren (Anderlecht); Dries Mertens (Napoli), Divock Origi (Liverpool), Jeremy Doku (Anderlecht), Landry Dimata (Anderlecht), Romelu Lukaku (Inter), Leandro Trossard (Brighton and Hove Albion).

Clubs will not be obliged to release their players for duty in September's international window if it will mean a period of quarantine.

FIFA has revised its rules after consultation with UEFA, whose member associations are involved in next month's international friendlies and Nations League matches.

With the COVID-19 crisis still affecting daily life across the planet, football's governing body has introduced temporary measures to help to reduce the health risk to players and impact on clubs.

As such, clubs will not have to release their players to represent their countries if it would involve a mandatory period of self-isolation of at least five days.

That applies whether the period of quarantine would take place in the country of origin or arrival.

"In light of the recent evolution of the coronavirus pandemic, the Bureau of the FIFA Council has unanimously decided to temporarily adapt the rules concerning the release of players during the upcoming September international window, which is to be played only by UEFA member associations," read a statement.

"The situation of the pandemic is rapidly evolving across the world and many national governments have again implemented travel and immigration restrictions due to a renewed increase in COVID-19 infections.

"Some of these measures directly impact international competition, such as mandatory periods of quarantine or self-isolation and travel restrictions.

"As a result, in order to ensure that the well-being and health of all individuals involved in international competition is respected, the Bureau of the FIFA Council has, after consultation with UEFA, decided that the general rules which normally oblige clubs to release players for national team matches should not apply in the following instances:

- there is a mandatory period of quarantine or self-isolation of at least five days upon arrival at:
- the location of the club which has an obligation to release the player to an association team; or
- the location where a representative team match is scheduled to take place;
- there is a travel restriction to or from either location (a. or b. above); and
- no specific exemption from the relevant authorities relating to the above decisions has been granted to players of a representative team.

"Furthermore, all participants in matches during international windows must abide by the health and safety protocols established by the relevant competition organiser."

The revised measures apply from August 31 to September 8 for men and from September 14 to 22 for women.

Barcelona winger Francisco Trincao has been called up to the Portugal squad for the first time for September's Nations League matches against Croatia and Sweden.

The 20-year-old has joined Barca for the start of 2020-21 after a €31million fee was agreed with Braga.

Trincao and Granada goalkeeper Rui Silva, who is also uncapped, have been included in Fernando Santos' 25-man squad for the start of their Nations League defence.

Wolves quartet Rui Patricio, Ruben Neves, Joao Moutinho and Diogo Jota have been included, as has Manchester United's Bruno Fernandes, despite the two clubs having competed in the latter stages of the Europa League this month.

Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo, Manchester City midfielder Bernardo Silva and Atletico Madrid forward Joao Felix are all in the squad.

Portugal face Croatia at Estadio do Dragao on September 5 before taking on Sweden in Solna three days later.

Portugal squad in full:

Anthony Lopes (Lyon), Rui Patricio (Wolves), Rui Silva (Granada); Joao Cancelo (Manchester City), Nelson Semedo (Barcelona), Domingos Duarte (Granada), Jose Fonte (Lille), Pepe (Porto), Ruben Dias (Benfica), Mario Rui (Napoli), Raphael Guerreiro (Borussia Dortmund); Danilo Pereira (Porto), Ruben Neves (Wolves), Andre Gomes (Everton), Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United), Bernardo Silva (Manchester City), Renato Sanches (Lille), Joao Moutinho (Wolves), Sergio Oliveira (Porto); Diogo Jota (Wolves), Andre Silva (Eintracht Frankfurt), Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus), Francisco Trincao (Barcelona), Goncalo Guedes (Valencia), Joao Felix (Atletico Madrid).

Luis Enrique believes Ronald Koeman's Dutch mentality is ideal for Barcelona and is convinced the club will soon start winning trophies again.

Koeman left his job as boss of the Netherlands to take over at Camp Nou following the sacking of Quique Setien, who paid the price for the 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals.

Sporting director Eric Abidal soon followed, while superstar forward Lionel Messi is reportedly considering his future.

Spain boss Luis Enrique led Barca to nine major trophies in three seasons as coach, including a LaLiga, Copa del Rey and Champions League treble in the 2014-15 campaign.

He has backed Koeman, a legend as a player at Barca, to turn things around and says Barcelona will come out of the malaise.

"He has the Dutch mentality, very similar to that of Barca," he told a news conference when asked about Koeman.

"Training Barcelona is an immense joy, it is never the worst moment. Then you have to manage it, but these are days when there is always sun.

"It happens to all the big clubs. Now comes more difficult moments. The history of the great clubs is full of these situations.

"They will win titles again soon, but I don't know when. That's the million dollar question."These players are used to this. They have [broad shoulders]."

Asked if he sees Messi leaving Barca, he replied: "Only Messi can answer that."

Luis Enrique named a fresh-looking squad for Spain's upcoming matches against Germany and Ukraine, with Barca's rising star Ansu Fati and Wolves winger Adama Traore included.

"I know him [Fati] perfectly. I think he has the level to be with us," Luis Enrique said of the teenager.

"I would say that only Messi has a higher minute-to-goal ratio than him at Barcelona. I want to see him here. It will be very important."

On Traore, he added: "We have followed him for a long time, since I was in Barcelona. He does many things.

He is a diamond, a brutal potential that can bring us many things. He has even come close to the goal. And he is willing and hungry."

Barcelona rising star Ansu Fati has been called up to the Spain squad for next month's matches against Germany and Ukraine.

Wolves winger Adama Traore is also included, having missed out on making his international debut last November due to injury.

In something of a fresh-faced squad, head coach Luis Enrique has also added Manchester City defender Eric Garcia and Real Madrid midfielder Oscar Rodriguez, who has been on loan at Leganes.

There are also places for new Manchester City signing Ferran Torres, Athletic Bilbao goalkeeper Unai Simon, Real Sociedad midfielder Mikel Merino and Sevilla full-back Sergio Reguilon, another Madrid loanee.

Barcelona left-back Jordi Alba has been left out and there are no players from Atletico Madrid in the squad.

Spain have announced they will travel to Portugal for a friendly on October 7. 

The fixture between the neighbouring countries will be staged in Lisbon ahead of both featuring in Nations League games during the October international window. 

Luis Enrique's squad are scheduled to host Switzerland on October 10 before travelling to Ukraine three days later - Germany are the other team in Group 4. 

Defending champions Portugal, meanwhile, are away to France on October 11, followed by a home game against Sweden.

Spain are also set for friendly duty against the Netherlands in November, with that meeting originally set to take place in March before the coronavirus pandemic caused major changes to the schedule.

Euro 2020 was pushed back a year due to the COVID-19 crisis, with the tournament now set for June and July in 2021.

England have announced a friendly against Wales at Wembley on October 8.

Gareth Southgate's side will take on their cross-border rivals behind closed doors in their first home game of 2020.

The last meeting between the two countries was in a group match at Euro 2016, when England secured a 2-1 victory courtesy of Daniel Sturridge's last-gasp goal.

After taking on Ryan Giggs' side, World Cup semi-finalists England face a Nations League double-header with home matches against Belgium and Denmark on October 11 and 14 respectively.

England will use the Wales fixture to stage a tribute to former internationals who have died in the past 12 months, including 1966 World Cup winners Jack Charlton, Martin Peters, Norman Hunter and Peter Bonetti.

 

All 12 host cities for Euro 2020 will remain the same when the tournament takes place a year later than planned in 2021 due to the coronavirus crisis.

A meeting of the UEFA Executive Committee was held via videoconference on Wednesday.

After their deliberations, European football's governing body announced a host of decisions, including on how the Champions League and Europa League would be completed.

It was also confirmed the original 12 venues would host matches in the rescheduled Euros.

The meeting had been postponed in May after UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said nine cities had affirmed their commitment to hosting, though there were issues with the remaining three.

But those concerns have been alleviated and, along with confirming the 12 venues, an updated match schedule was also approved.

The tournament will begin with a game between Italy and Turkey in Rome on June 11, 2021 with the final taking place a month later in London on July 11.

Baku, Copenhagen, Munich, Budapest, Amsterdam, Dublin, Bucharest, St Petersburg, Glasgow and Bilbao are the other host cities.

"All existing tickets remain valid for the tournament in 2021," added a UEFA statement.

"Existing ticket buyers who nevertheless wish to return their ticket(s), will have a final opportunity to request a refund from June 18 to June 25.

"The Executive Committee expressed its appreciation to the host associations, cities and their authorities for their continuous support and commitment in organising the postponed Euro 2020."

Four spaces in the 24-team competition remain up for grabs as the play-offs are yet to take place.

The October and November international windows are to become triple-headers rather than double-headers, meaning those ties can be played on October 8 and November 12.

Meanwhile, a new season of Nations League action will begin on September 3, with group-stage matches taking place at regular intervals until November 18.

"UEFA took a bold decision when it decided to postpone Euro 2020," said Ceferin.

"But in doing so, we created the space which has allowed domestic club competitions across the continent to resume, where possible, and play to a conclusion. 

"While the game has suffered huge difficulties as a result of the pandemic, those blows would have landed much harder if we had not shown leadership in those early days."

UEFA has paid out €70million of benefits in advance to clubs that released players for European Championship qualifiers and the Nations League.

Following a meeting of its executive committee on Thursday, UEFA announced payments that were scheduled to be made upon completion of the Euro play-offs – which were postponed in March amid the coronavirus pandemic – have been brought forward.

According to the governing body, 676 clubs from its 55 member associations will receive amounts ranging from €3,200 to €630,000 for allowing their players to participate.

The funds form a chunk of a €200m pot UEFA distributes to teams as part of the memorandum of understanding with the European Club Association (ECA).

The remaining €130m will be shared among clubs that release players for the European Championship, which was pushed back from June and July this year to 2021 as result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

"European clubs are an integral part of the success of our national team competitions," said UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin.

"As a result, a share of our national team competition revenues is distributed to the clubs which release players for those matches.

"In these difficult times when many clubs are facing financial issues, especially with their cash flow, it was our duty to make sure that clubs receive these payments as quickly as possible."

ECA chairman Andrea Agnelli said: "This represents a much-needed liquidity injection into club finances and is a result of ECA's joint work with UEFA on safeguarding clubs at this time of existential threat.

"Whilst public health remains our primary concern, securing financial, legal and regulatory relief in advance of restarting football across Europe, once it is safe to do so, is of paramount importance to ECA and its members."

UEFA has announced a commitment to see all European and domestic club competitions for the 2019-20 season completed by June 30.

Earlier on Tuesday, following discussions during a video conference convened by UEFA, it was announced Euro 2020 would be postponed by 12 months to account for the impact of the coronavirus pandemic upon the sporting calendar.

That theoretically freed up room for remaining club commitments to be seen through by the recognised end of the season - June 30 being the date when out-of-contract players would normally cease to be employed by their clubs.

European football is on a virtual continent-wide shutdown as part of efforts to stem the spread of COVID-19, with the Premier League, Bundesliga, Serie A and LaLiga on hold until the start of April and Ligue 1 indefinitely.

Last week, UEFA postponed its forthcoming Champions League and Europa League ties, with both competitions in the midst of their last-16 phases.

A release signed by the UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin, European Club Association chairman Andrea Agnelli, European Leagues president Lars-Christer Olsson and FIFPro Europe president Bobby Barnes specified "a commitment to complete all domestic and European club competitions by the end of the current sporting season, i.e. 30 June 2020 at the latest, should the situation improve and resuming playing be appropriate and prudent enough".

The statement continued by outlining flexibility in terms of scheduling domestic matches in midweek slots and UEFA club competition fixtures at weekends, and added "possible adaptations" to the qualifying rounds of the 2020-21 Champions League and Europa League were possible if the June 30 target date is not met.

Reports earlier on Tuesday floated June 24 and 27 as potential respective slots for the Europa League and Champions League finals.

A working group comprised of UEFA, league and club representatives will now be established to find solutions "allowing for the resumption and/or conclusion of the current season in a coherent manner".

A second working group will be established at a later date to assess the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis and offset any adverse consequences.

Any completion of club commitments must factor in the scheduled June international break, when UEFA intends to stage qualification play-offs for what is now Euro 2021.

The Women's Euro 2021, the 2021 European Under-21 Championship and the 2021 Nations League finals will all be rescheduled as a result of the men's European Championship moving to July 11 to June 11 of that next year, although UEFA has not confirmed new dates for those affected tournaments at this stage.

France and Croatia will play out a repeat of their World Cup final having been drawn in the same group in the 2020-21 Nations League with defending champions Portugal, while Germany and Spain will go head-to-head.

Fernando Santos' side won the inaugural competition last year, beating Netherlands 1-0 in the final thanks to Goncalo Guedes, though Group 3 looks set to significantly test their mettle this time around – Sweden also joining them with Croatia and France.

The format of the competition changes slightly this time around, with the groups containing four teams rather than three, but as before the top team from each of the four groups in League A will meet in the Nations League finals.

Italy will fancy their chances of reaching the final stages having been drawn with Poland, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Netherlands, the latter likely their biggest challengers.

In Group 4, Germany and Spain will be the favourites ahead of Ukraine and Switzerland, while England and Belgium are in Group 2 with Iceland and Denmark.

The competition will commence in early September, with the Finals set for June 2021.

League A

Group 1: Poland, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Italy, Netherlands

Group 2: Iceland, Denmark, Belgium, England

Group 3: Croatia, Sweden, France, Portugal

Group 4: Germany, Ukraine, Spain, Switzerland

LEAGUE B

Group 1: Austria, Norway, Northern Ireland, Romania

Group 2: Czech Republic, Scotland, Slovakia, Israel

Group 3: Russia, Serbia, Turkey, Hungary

Group 4: Wales, Finland, Republic of Ireland, Bulgaria

 

LEAGUE C

Group 1: Azerbaijan, Luxembourg, Cyprus, Montenegro

Group 2: Armenia, Estonia, Macedonia, Georgia

Group 3: Moldova, Slovenia, Kosovo, Greece

Group 4: Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Belarus, Albania

 

LEAGUE D

Group 1: Malta, Andorra, Latvia, Faroe Islands

Group 2: San Marino, Liechtenstein, Gibraltar

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.