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FOOTBALL

Lagerbäck keeps mum over Ibrahimovic

Sweden coach Lars Lagerbäck refused to confirm or deny on Tuesday whether star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic would play in their crucial Euro 2008 Group D clash with Russia on Wednesday.

The 59-year-old coach simply indicated there was a similar situation with Ibrahimovic and his longstanding left knee problem as there had been before the previous two matches, a 2-0 win over Greece and a 2-1 defeat by Spain, in which the Inter Milan striker scored in both matches.

However, he failed to last the whole 90 minutes in either, and was withdrawn at half-time of the Spanish encounter – though the Swedes insisted it was just a precautionary measure.

“We are in the same situation as before the previous two matches,” commented Lagerbäck on Tuesday.

Ibrahimovic has been suffering from the left knee injury for some time, missing several weeks at the end of the Serie A season before returning to score two goals in the defeat of Parma in the final match of the season to seal the title for Inter.

He has been undergoing daily treatments of acupuncture and ultrasound therapy.

Sweden need just a draw, while Russia need to win to finish second and a date with Group C winners Holland in Saturday’s quarter-final in Basel, Switzerland.

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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