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FOOTBALL

Sweden leave it late in Malta

An 81st minute own goal spared Sweden's blushes in Valletta on Wednesday evening, as Sweden leaped to second place in Wold Cup qualifying Group One.

Sweden leave it late in Malta

An easy three points on paper against the group’s whipping boys quickly turned into a battle of attrition as the well-organised hosts frustrated their more auspicious but temporarily uninspired visitors.

But just as Sweden’s world cup dream was beginning to evaporate, up popped a Maltese defender to inadvertently knock a cutback from Marcus Berg into his own net.

The mood of the jubilant travelling fans was further buoyed by results from elsewhere. Sweden’s second win in four days meant they jumped into the second place play-off spot as Hungary fell to Portugal and first-placed Denmark could only manage a point away to Albania.

Though a night to forget in footballing terms, the win leaves Sweden’s destiny in their own hands with just two games left to play. Lars Lagerbäck’s side can secure at least a play-off spot if they win away to Denmark and home to Albania in a crucial four-day period in mid-October.

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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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