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Sweden hold on to Nations League promotion hopes with Turkey win

Sweden kept their hopes of promotion alive with a narrow UEFA Nations League victory over Turkey in Konya on Saturday.

Sweden hold on to Nations League promotion hopes with Turkey win
Andreas Granqvist celebrates after netting a penalty during Sweden's 1-0 win at the Belediyesi Stadium, Konya. Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT

Andreas Granqvist's 71st-minute penalty gave the World Cup quarter-finalists a 1-0 win to relegate their opponents.

“This is hugely important for us,” captain Granqvist told SVT Sport.

The central defender coolly slotted away his penalty in front of the hostile home supporters after Marcus Berg was felled in the Turkish penalty with the match entering its final stages.

“I had decided to hit it hard and left but was a bit nervous when (Turkey goalkeeper Sinan Bolat) threw himself in the right direction. But it had enough power,” Granqvist said.

An impressive display by goalkeeper Robin Olsen helped shut out Turkey, who dominated possession and created a series of goalscoring opportunities.

Olsen made a particularly important save late in the first half to keep Sweden on level terms as Turkish star attacker Hakan Çalhanoğlu bore down on goal.

“He made a match-winning save,” teammate Viktor Claesson said to SVT. “He did what he had to plus a bit more.”

The Scandinavians can now finish top of Group 2 and gain promotion to League A, despite failing to win their first two games, if they beat Russia in Stockholm on Tuesday.

Victory over Russia would also give Sweden a Nations League play-off spot, meaning they would be just two games away from Euro 2020 qualification, should they fail to earn it through the regular qualifying groups that begin next year.

READ ALSO: Sweden and Denmark climb seven places in Fifa rankings

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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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