England squad for Albania and San Marino World Cup qualifiers
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England’s Monday-night fixture with San Marino was dealt a scare when a loud bang and plumes of smoke were spotted, prompting a power-cut hours before kick-off. The Three Lions are preparing for their final World Cup qualifying match, aiming to rubber-stamp their spot in Qatar for 2022.
According to Sky Sports reporter Rob Dorsett: “In San Marino, we heard a loud bang and then some light plumes of smoke came from a building to the right of me.
“All the power has gone out inside the stadium. The floodlights, and every bit of light behind me in the main stand.
“A number of electricians are trying to work on the plant unit here, a big electrical unit which has been blackened by smoke.
“My understanding is the UEFA officials are now talking about the potential for a back-up generator so that this game can go ahead.”
“It’s not like what we saw in Andorra with that huge fire the day before the game.
“But at the moment, a concern for the UEFA and San Marino officials because they have got to get this fixed in order to get the game on.”
Thankfully for the sake of the encounter, the lights came back on fairly promptly at the Stadio Olimpico di Serravalle.
Although the source of the bang has not been specified, matters at the stadium appear to be back up and running in time for the match to go ahead.
A tense wait is now underway as fans and players hope to avoid a similar incident before kick-off.
Dorsett later added: “The lights came back on about 10 minutes ago but officials want to assess how stable that electrical situation is before they say ‘yeah everything is good to go’.
“The power they have at the moment is only about 70 to 80 per cent. The floodlight is not at full power.
“The officials are looking to check if that is good enough for a World Cup qualifier.
“I have to say it looks fine to me and I can’t see England having too many complaints.”
The Three Lions need just a single point to cement their ticket to the Qatar World Cup next year, and they could hardly have hoped for easier opposition.
Southgate’s side dispatched Albania 5-0 at Wembley on Friday, with an otherwise struggling Harry Kane notching a perfect hat-trick to restore his confidence.
Meanwhile, the tie against lowly San Marino could grant opportunities to youngsters like Emile Smith Rowe and Conor Gallagher to show what they can do in an England shirt, so long as the power remains intact leading up to the scheduled 19:45 kick-off.
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