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FOOTBALL

Sundhage: The times they are a changin’ for Sweden

Sweden coach Pia Sundhage is hoping for a change of luck against old foes Germany to win her third consecutive women's football gold medal in Friday's final.

Sundhage: The times they are a changin' for Sweden
Sweden football coach Pia Sundhage meets the press in Rio. Photo: Tobias Röstlund/TT
Two-time world champions Germany have an impressive record against Sweden, winning all three previous Olympic meetings between the sides in 2000, 2004 and 2008, as well as a 4-1 thrashing at last year's World Cup.
 
“They have been winning against us too many times. They have to lose some time, hopefully it is tomorrow,” said a cheerful Sundhage, who ended her press conference Thursday by singing a line from Bob Dylan classic “The Times They Are A Changin'.”
 
Sundhage led the USA to gold in 2008 and 2012, but insists a third title with her native Sweden will mean more given the limited expectations of a side that only reached the quarter-finals by finishing as one of the two best third-placed sides in the group stages.
 
“It is one thing for the US to play under such pressure. There were so many people expecting US to win the gold.”
 
“When we started this road for Olympic qualification in March not many people expected us to be here.”
 
“Tomorrow will be the very best experience I have had with an Olympic gold medal.”
 
Germany coach Silvia Neid will take charge of the national team for the final time after 11 years at the Maracana.
 
“What can be nicer than have your last game playing for the gold medal and playing in this fantastic stadium,” said Neid, who will resume a three-decade long rivalry with Sundhage dating back to their playing careers.
 
However, she refused to try and out-sing her Swedish counterpart.
 
“I can't sing. I can dance, but I need Pia to do the music.”

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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