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FOOTBALL

Swedish coach Lagerbäck resigns

Swedish national football team coach Lars Lagerbäck announced on Sunday his intention to resign after the final World Cup qualifier against Albania on Wednesday, accepting that the Scandinavians are unlikely to qualify for the 2010 finals.

Swedish coach Lagerbäck resigns

Sweden lost 1-0 in Denmark on Saturday night and with Portugal beating Hungary 3-0 face elimination from Group One.

Lowly Malta would need to win or draw in Lisbon on Wednesday and Sweden to beat Albania by a large margin to see Lagerbäck’s side reach the play-offs.

Long-serving Lagerbäck told a press conference that he and his deputy Roland Andersson would resign “whatever the result … either after the World Cup in South Africa, or after a play-off or after the Albania match,” on Wednesday.

Sweden have failed to even score in qualifiers against main rivals Denmark and Portugal and Lagerbäck, who has coached the national side since 2000, has come under increasing fire despite managing to guide the team to the last five major football championships.

Among Lagerbäck’s potential successors has been named former England and Manchester City coach Sven-Göran Eriksson as well as his former assistant Hans Backe.

Former European champions Denmark secured automatic qualification for the 2010 finals after downing Sweden in Copenhagen. Sweden have 15 points, behind Portugal on 16.

Only group winners secure automatic qualification for the finals in South Africa next year, with the eight best group runners-up being forced into a two-leg play-off.

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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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