Wales: St Pauli finally releases James Lawrence for the World Cup qualifier

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St Pauli FINALLY agrees to release James Lawrence for Wales’ World Cup qualifier with the Czech Republic after concierge boss Robert Page claimed both the German FA and FIFA were on their side in a dispute over Covid rules

  • Wales demanded that St Pauli release James Lawrence to play Tuesday night
  • Defender returned to Hamburg because Covid rules made a trip to the UK impossible
  • But Wales has claimed a rule change means Lawrence should be released to play
  • On Sunday, the Bundesliga 2 squad confirmed that Lawrence could rejoin the squad
  • Caretaker boss Robert Page said the German FA and FIFA were on the side of Wales

St. Pauli has agreed to release defender James Lawrence for a crucial World Cup qualifier against the Czech Republic after Wales demanded he play.

Lawrence played on Wednesday in the opening game of the 2022 World Cup in Wales, the 3-1 defeat against Belgium in Leuven.

But the 28-year-old then returned to Hamburg because local Covid-19 quarantine regulations in Germany prevented him from traveling to the UK.

St. Pauli has agreed to release James Lawrence's clash with the Czech Republic for Wales

St. Pauli has agreed to release James Lawrence’s clash with the Czech Republic for Wales

Caretaker boss Robert Page believes Germany's FA and FIFA were both on the side of Wales at stake

Caretaker boss Robert Page believes Germany's FA and FIFA were both on the side of Wales at stake

Caretaker boss Robert Page believes Germany’s FA and FIFA were both on the side of Wales at stake

Lawrence missed Wales’ 1-0 friendly victory over Mexico in Cardiff on Saturday evening.

But after Wales insisted that the eight-way-capped defender be released for Tuesday’s Cardiff game with the Czechs – as quarantine rules were relaxed in Germany – the Bundesliga 2 side finally gave in.

On Sunday afternoon, St. Pauli tweeted, “James #Lawrence has been authorized by local health authorities to travel to Wales today to contact the national team ahead of Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier against the Czech Republic (20:45 CET).”

Before Lawrence was released, Wales concierge manager Robert Page said, “It’s difficult. We have the German FA on our side, we have FIFA on our side.

“We just need the club to release him. We are still talking to the club and trying to get him back into the group.

“That’s another thing we’ll be doing overnight. It’s just a case where the club releases him.

Lawrence played for Wales against Belgium before returning to Hamburg due to the regulations

Lawrence played for Wales against Belgium before returning to Hamburg due to the regulations

Lawrence played for Wales against Belgium before returning to Hamburg due to the regulations

“We are protected by it (the regulations). The German FA has no problems with it and FIFA has said yes.

“There’s no reason we shouldn’t have him in and, like I said, we’re in talks with the club.”

Page said Wales also plans to talk to Lawrence on Sunday about returning to the squad.

‘We wanted to have it done as soon as possible, ready by tomorrow morning. We will continue to pursue it and everyone will support us, ”Page had insisted before Lawrence’s release was confirmed.

“We’ll talk to James again to see how quickly we can get him in.

Lawrence will now travel to Cardiff to join his international team-mates for their next match

Lawrence will now travel to Cardiff to join his international team-mates for their next match

Lawrence will now travel to Cardiff to join his international team-mates for their next match

‘If it is Monday, it is Monday, but ideally we will be back on the (training) field on Sunday and the planning for Tuesday’s game has already started.

‘The (local) government did not allow him to come to the UK at the time.

‘But the restrictions have now been relaxed and it should be no different now than for the game against Belgium. We now just need the club to give us the nod to persuade him. ‘

Wales celebrated the 100th cap of Chris Gunter – the country’s first male player to reach that milestone – with a hard-fought victory over Mexican opponents who ranked ninth in the world.

The 11th-minute winner at close range to Kieffer Moore, his fifth goal in 13 appearances in Wales, proved the difference on a night when Page changed the entire squad from the Belgian defeat.

Chris Gunter celebrated his 100th cap for Wales on Saturday in a tight victory over Mexico

Chris Gunter celebrated his 100th cap for Wales on Saturday in a tight victory over Mexico

Chris Gunter celebrated his 100th cap for Wales on Saturday in a tight victory over Mexico

Gunter said: ‘It was fun in parts, it was a difficult game.

‘It was a special evening for me and with a clean slate and a win. I can look back on that with great pride.

‘The team was good all over the field and it was a perfect evening for me.

‘The amount of support and nice messages I’ve had has been unbelievable.

“It won’t settle for long and I don’t think there is a happier man in the world right now.”

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