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FOOTBALL

Sweden open Euro qualifiers with victory

Sweden were expected to open their European Championship qualifying campaign with a victory over Latvia, and that's just what they did - but they made hard work of their 1-0 victory in the Skonto stadium on Saturday.

A strike from Kim Källström in the 38th minute proved to be decisive. A right-footed wallop sent the ball into the net off the underside of the crossbar after some tidy build-up work from new captain Fredrik Ljungberg, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Johan Elmander.

Sweden had already failed to convert several chances in the first half, but the team’s nervousness was no surprise after consistently poor performances in the last few matches.

Latvia picked up the pace in the second half and had a number of efforts on Rami Shaaban’s goal, including a couple in the closing minutes of the game.

On Wednesday Sweden face Liechtenstein, in what should be another confidence-boosting match at Gotheburg’s Ullevi stadium.

FOOTBALL

Croatian player tests positive ahead of Sweden match

Croatian midfielder Marcelo Brozovic tested positive for Covid-19 on Friday, a day ahead of the country's Nations League match with Sweden, the Croatian football federation (HNS) said.

Croatian player tests positive ahead of Sweden match
Croatian midfielder Marcelo Brozovic (left) tested positive for coronavirus on Friday. Photo: Miguel Medina / AFP
“Brozovic's Inter Milan and Swedish epidemiologists were informed about the positive test,” an HNS statement said.
   
The player's positive result came two days after defender Domagoj Vida was informed of a positive Covid-19 test after playing the first half of a friendly with Turkey in Istanbul.
   
Apart from Brozovic, 27, one staff member also tested positive.
   
They were both isolated from other members of the national team.
   
After Sweden, Croatia play another Nations League game against Portugal on Tuesday.
   
Croatia, runners-up at the 2018 World Cup, are third in their Nations League group which also includes France, the team that beat them to the World Cup, Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal and Sweden.
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