Fire breaks out at stadium ahead of England’s World Cup qualifier with Andorra

A fire has broken out at the stadium where England are set to face Andorra on Saturday evening in a World Cup qualifier.

Gareth Southgate’s squad play the game at the Estadi Nacional and trained on the hybrid surface just a few hours before the flames engulfed the broadcast gantry on one side of the pitch.

The fire appeared to start partway through a Sky Sports broadcast, in which Rob Dorsett explained how the “black, billowing smoke” was heading toward residential flats immediately behind the stadium.

Other journalists on the scene noted that the fire brigade were quickly on hand to put out the blaze, after stadium operatives had initially turned sprinklers on to try and dampen the spread.

At present it has been reported as “unclear” whether there will be any impact on England’s match, which is set to kick-off at 7:45pm (BST) on 9 October, or indeed whether there was any damage to the pitch itself, despite the proximity of the fire to the edge of the surface.

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The Telegraph’s Mike McGrath showed how the managers’ technical area was damaged and the dugout “melted” on one side from the fire.

Wales’ Gareth Bale previously described the pitch as the worst he had played on, though improvements had since been made to the synthetic surface. If the game goes ahead and England win as expected, they’ll be a maximum of six points away from guaranteeing qualification to Qatar 2022, with three games left to play.

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