Soccer: Andorra forced to move England tie to Barcelona

By Steve Tongue

Andorra have been told by Uefa that they cannot stage the Euro 2008 qualifying tie against England next March at their national stadium, which holds only 1299.

Barcelona's mini-Estadi is now expected to be the venue. That stadium, which nestles alongside the Nou Camp, can hold 16,000.

Andorra's attempt to stage their biggest game in the capital, Andorra La Vella, was considered to be posturing, with the Andorran FA wanting Uefa, the European game's governing body, to impose the unpopular but inevitable decision on them. England would have received only 150 tickets under the Pyrenees nation's original plan.

The home match against Andorra was Steve McClaren's first competitive outing as England manager and the first that David Beckham missed after becoming the first major casualty of the new regime.

With Owen Hargreaves, who took over his No 7 shirt - if not his right midfield role - now ruled out with a broken leg, Beckham has a chance to test McClaren's assertion that the door is not closed. But to earn a recall for next month's matches against Macedonia and Croatia, he has to be playing for Real Madrid and that is by no means certain, even though he scored Real's second goal in last weekend's 2-0 victory over Real Sociedad, which he started on the bench.

Beckham appears to have only a slim hope of being in the squad which McClaren will name next weekend for the matches against Macedonia and Croatia. Croatia have recalled three players banned from their 0-0 draw in Russia for breaking a curfew, including former Aston Villa striker Bosko Balaban.

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