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FOOTBALL

Zlatan returns for Finland qualifier

Sweden skipper Zlatan Ibrahimovic has returned to the national team squad to face Finland on Tuesday in a crucial Euro 2012 qualifier having missed the weekend win in Moldova through injury, coach Eric Hamrén said Monday.

Zlatan returns for Finland qualifier

“Everyone trained normally and everyone is ready to play,” the TT news agency quoted Hamren as saying following a training session, though it was not clear if the veteran forward would start.

Later on Tuesday, assistant coat Marcus Allbäck confirmed that Ibrahimovic would indeed suit up for Sweden, but that he would not be in the starting line up.

AC Milan’s “Ibra,” fresh from winning the Serie A title, remained in Sweden with ankle trouble while his compatriots swept the Moldovans aside.

The Swedes have a huge challenge on in Group E to knock Holland off top spot with the Dutch currently six points clear after a perfect start – though the Swedes have a match in hand.

Sweden claimed three points in Moldova on Friday, winning 4-1 in Chisinau.

The win against the footballing minnows was achieved with goals by Ola Toivonen, Johan Elmander (2) and Alexander Gerndt.

Elmander, who recently signed for Turkish club Galatasary, is hopeful of retaining his place in the centre of Sweden’s attack but is likely to give way to a pairing of Ibrahimovic and Toivonen.

Despite the win, Sweden are struggling to catch the Dutch, who have a perfect record after six matches.

Although the Swedes have a match in hand they have six points to make up and have their sights set on grabbing the best runner-up spot.

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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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