Andorra must go abroad to play England

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The Independent Football

Andorra have been told by Uefa that they cannot stage the Euro 2008 qualifying match against England next March at their national stadium, which holds only 1,299 people.

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, 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 about 150 tickets under Andorra'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 wide 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. That is by no means certain, even though he scored Real's second goal in the 2-0 victory over Real Sociedad in his last outing, which he started on the bench. He will have to wait to see if Real's new coach, Fabio Capello, thinks that he is worth a place in the starting line-up against Real Betis today.

Capello told the club's website: "I haven't decided about Beckham yet, but 12 men cannot play. I rotate my players, so some have to be left out every match. He's a member of the squad, just like the rest."

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

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