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WORLD CUP

Danes end Sweden’s World Cup dream

Sweden were unable to live up to the pre-match bravado and were left wanting in Copenhagen losing 1-0 to Denmark who booked their spot in the World Cup finals in South Africa next summer.

Sweden’s coach Lars Lagerbäck took a team determined to make amends for a 0-1 home defeat in Solna in June and promised that his team would “own Parken” stadium.

But despite the industry expected of a Swedish national team the match and the result leave Sweden’s World Cup dream hanging by a Maltese thread after Portugal disposed of Hungary 3-0 at home in Lisbon.

While the Danes can celebrate claiming the automatic qualification spot, Sweden in third are now hoping that the minnows of Malta can cause an upset when they travel to Lisbon in the final round of group 1 games.

A hectic match, low on quality but high on passion and commitment, was decided by a Jakob Poulsen goal in the 79th minute.

The Swedes managed to find the net on two occasions in a strong second half display only for the efforts to be ruled out for offside, and ball out of play.

As expected Barcelona star Zlatan Ibrahimovic was at the heart of most of the Swedish attacks although the Danish rearguard, marshalled by Liverpool defender Daniel Agger, keep the clear chances to a minimum.

Lars Lagerbäck, who has taken Sweden to five straight major championship finals, was visibly shaken in the post-match press conference but refused to call time on either his tenure or the Swedish hopes of reaching South Africa.

“It is not over before all the matches have been played and all the points counted,” Lagerbäck underlined.

Sweden now remain on 15 points with Portugal, in second on 16 points and with a superior goal difference.

The Swedes will need a win against Albania on Wednesday and a Maltese miracle to get out of what has long since come to be known as the group of death.

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IBRAHIMOVIC

Zlatan has been ‘cured’ of coronavirus: AC Milan

AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been given the all-clear to end his quarantine period and return to action after testing negative for coronavirus, the Serie A club announced on Friday.

Zlatan has been 'cured' of coronavirus: AC Milan
Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrates after scoring a goal in September. Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP
Milan confirmed in a statement that the Swedish striker had “tested negative” twice in a row, as stipulated in the protocol to be able to lift the quarantine procedure.
   
Ibrahimovic, 39, sounded a more triumphal note on his social media: “You are cured! The health authority says the quarantine is over, you can go out!”, he wrote on Twitter.

The announcement comes a day after Milan said Ibrahimovic had tested positive a second time for Covid-19, putting in doubt his participation in the Milan derby on October 17.
 
   
Ibrahimovic first tested positive on September 24.
   
The derby remains in doubt with two other Milan players and five from Inter currently in self-quarantine.
   
In spite of his absence, Milan have made a decent start to the season, having climbed to second in Serie A after winning all three of their games and reaching the group stages of the Europa League.
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