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FOOTBALL

Sweden secures Euro 2012 playoff spot

Sweden made sure of a Euro 2012 playoff spot with a 2-1 win in Finland on Friday as continental heavyweights England and France attempted to guarantee their places in next summer's finals.

Sweden secures Euro 2012 playoff spot

Sebastian Larsson, who plays with English Premier League side Sunderland, opened the scoring after just eight minutes before Blackburn Rovers’ Martin Olsson made it 2-0 in the 51st minute in the Group E encounter.

Joona Toivio pulled one back for Finland after 73 minutes to set up a nervy closing period.

The Netherlands, who play Molodova later, had already made sure of qualifying from Group E with eight wins in eight matches.

Armenia stayed alive in Group B with a 4-1 win over 10-man Macedonia in Yerevan to leave their hopes depending on the result of their clash against the Republic of Ireland in Dublin in Tuesday.

Marcos Pizzelli and Henrik Mkhitaryan gave Vardan Minasyan’s side a 2-0 lead before the interval.

Macedonia captain Velice Sumulikoski was red-carded eight minutes into the second half before Gevorg Ghazaryan made it 3-0. Vance Sikov pulled one back for the visitors but Artur Sarkisov added a fourth for Armenia in injury time.

Armenia have 17 points, the same as Russia who are in Slovakia later Friday, while Ireland, on 15 points, tackle hapless Andorra.

Later Friday, England need just a point against Montenegro in Group G to make sure of their place in the finals in Poland and Ukraine next summer.

France can also go through with a win over Albania in Paris in Group D as long as other results go their way.

As well as the two co-hosts, Germany, Italy, champions Spain and the Netherlands are already assured of places in the finals.

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NORWAY

Norway to send 200,000 AstraZeneca doses to Sweden and Iceland

Norway, which has suspended the use of AstraZeneca's Covid vaccine until further notice, will send 216,000 doses to Sweden and Iceland at their request, the Norwegian health ministry said Thursday.

Norway to send 200,000 AstraZeneca doses to Sweden and Iceland
Empty vials of the AstraZeneca vaccine. (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP)

“I’m happy that the vaccines we have in stock can be put to use even if the AstraZeneca vaccine has been paused in Norway,” Health Minister Bent Høie said in a statement.

The 216,000 doses, which are currently stored in Norwegian fridges, have to be used before their expiry dates in June and July.

Sweden will receive 200,000 shots and Iceland 16,000 under the expectation they will return the favour at some point. 

“If we do resume the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, we will get the doses back as soon as we ask,” Høie said.

Like neighbouring Denmark, Norway suspended the use of the AstraZeneca jab on March 11 in order to examine rare but potentially severe side effects, including blood clots.

Among the 134,000 AstraZeneca shots administered in Norway before the suspension, five cases of severe thrombosis, including three fatal ones, had been registered among relatively young people in otherwise good health. One other person died of a brain haemorrhage.

On April 15, Norway’s government ignored a recommendation from the Institute of Public Health to drop the AstraZeneca jab for good, saying it wanted more time to decide.

READ MORE: Norway delays final decision on withdrawal of AstraZeneca vaccine 

The government has therefore set up a committee of Norwegian and international experts tasked with studying all of the risks linked to the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, which is also suspected of causing blood clots.

Both are both based on adenovirus vector technology. Denmark is the only European country to have dropped the AstraZeneca
vaccine from its vaccination campaign, and said on Tuesday it would “lend” 55,000 doses to the neighbouring German state of Schleswig-Holstein.

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