New Zealand have pulled out of November’s international friendly with England, with the Three Lions confirming a new opponent will be announced soon.
The All Whites have not played a match in 2020, with their last fixtures coming back in November 2019 when they lost to the Republic of Ireland and Lithuania. The scheduled games against Bahrain and Oman were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Gareth Southgate’s match against England was scheduled for November 12 but it has now been confirmed that the New Zealand players will not be present.
We can confirm New Zealand’s withdrawal from next month’s international friendly. We will announce the alternative opposition when the time comes. #threelions https://t.co/sKqog0ro2V
— England (@England) October 14, 2020
NZF CEO Andrew Purgnell said via their website: “It is with deep regret that we have been forced to cancel our participation in the upcoming match against England at Wembley.
“This is no mean feat, it’s a match we all wanted to play, however, this is the final All Whites squad selected for the November 2019 tour, even excluding the New Zealand-based players. A significant number of the team will be quarantined or banned from returning home.
“This will greatly disrupt their domestic seasons and potentially jeopardize their professional careers.
England beat Belgium 2-1 in their latest match/Pool/Getty Images
“The travel restrictions due to Covid and the changing nature of commercial flight availability mean that we are not sure we can field a squad at Wembley on the day and defaulting on this match at the last minute is not an option. “
New Zealand will instead prepare for their international matches in March 2021, when they begin their qualifying campaign for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
England, meanwhile, face Denmark on Wednesday night and have two more Nations League games against Belgium and Iceland in November. They currently lead Group 2 of League A by a point after a 2-1 win over Roberto Martinez’s Red Devils.
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