Worker almost crushed in terrifying stadium fire scare

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Workers and fire fighters worked desperately to stop the fire spreading at the stadium in Andorra. Pic: Sky Sports
Workers and fire fighters worked desperately to stop the fire spreading at the stadium in Andorra. Pic: Sky Sports

England's World Cup qualifier in Andorra will go ahead despite a terrifying blaze and a close call for at least one worker at the country's national stadium.

The Three Lions are in the Pyrenees to take on the world's 156th-ranked side at the Estadi Nacional, where manager Gareth Southgate and stand-in skipper Kieran Trippier spoke with the media after a scheduled training session.

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Shortly after England left the 3,300-capacity stadium, a wild blaze erupted around the TV gantry at the side of the artificial pitch, which was damaged in the ensuing chaos.

Black smoke filled the air as flames ripped through the structure in Andorra la Vella, with workers trying desperately to contain the fire from spreading.

News footage captured one man almost being crushed by part of the structure at the side of the stadium as it burnt and crashed to the ground in the inferno.

Stadium staff tried to get the blaze under control with sprinklers before the fire brigade arrived, with one onlooker saying welders had been working there when the fire started.

Part of the dugout melted and the fourth official shelter was destroyed, as was the video assistant referee's monitor.

The walls were blackened and there was debris on a part of the much-discussed artificial surface.

The Football Association was initially unsure whether there would be an impact on Saturday evening's qualifier, but the Andorran Football Federation confirmed the match is unaffected by the fire.

A spokesperson for the governing body said: "No personal harm has been reported, only material damages and the schedule will continue as foreseen ... The match will be played."

World Cup qualifier to go ahead as planned

The clean-up operation was under way as Andorra trained on Friday evening, with cones laid out to show the area for players to avoid.

The damaged surface is set to be replaced before Saturday's game, with Andorra head coach Koldo Alvarez relaxed about the entire situation.

Meanwhile, Trippier reckoned he couldn't wait to lead England out in front of fans for the first time.

The 31-year-old has established himself as a key component of the Three Lions set-up since making his debut in a friendly against France in 2017.

Pictured here, England's Kieran Trippier prepares for the World Cup qualifier against Andorra.
Kieran Trippier has been given the honour of captaining England for the Andorra match. Pic: Getty

Atletico Madrid full-back Trippier shone in the run to the 2018 World Cup semi-finals and will win his 35th cap in Andorra.

He skippered the national team in a friendly against Wales this time last year, but this will be the first time he will captain England in front of supporters.

"Unbelievable feeling," Trippier said. "I'm speechless, really, to captain my country and lead the boys out. Something I'll never, ever forget."

with AAP

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