Ibra Feeling ‘Good’ After Winning Sweden Return, Germany Stage Rights Protest

Sweden’s forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Georgia’s defender Guram Kashia (L) and Georgia’s defender Grigol Chabradze (C) vie for the ball during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualification football match Sweden v Georgia in Solna, near Stockholm on March 25, 2021.

 

Zlatan Ibrahimovic made a winning return to international football with Sweden on Thursday after nearly five years away as Germany came out for human rights in their opening qualifier for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Ibrahimovic set up Viktor Claesson’s 35th-minute winner in the 1-0 win over Georgia at the Friends Arena just outside Stockholm in his 117th appearance for his national team, his first since Euro 2016.

The AC Milan forward had to hold back the tears as he spoke to reporters on Monday about his international comeback, and he was in good spirits after a win that puts Sweden top of Group B.

“It felt good. It felt like it was my first international match. It was a lot of adrenaline,” Ibrahimovic told Sverige Radio.

READ ALSOInjured Pepe Out Of Portugal World Cup Qualifiers

Sweden lead their group two points ahead of Greece and Spain, who played out a surprising 1-1 draw in Granada.

Alvaro Morata opened the scoring with a superb control and finish from Koke’s clipped pass in the 33rd minute.

But the Greeks levelled through their only shot of the entire match, Anastasios Bakasetas’ penalty in the 57th minute after Inigo Martinez fouled Giorgios Masouras.

Sweden’s forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic (C) and his teammates celebrate the first goal during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualification football match Sweden v Georgia in Solna, near Stockholm on March 25, 2021. Janerik HENRIKSSON / TT NEWS AGENCY / AFP

 

“I don’t like the result and we weren’t inspired either… Whenever we got near the Greek penalty area we lacked sharpness and efficacy,” said Spain coach Luis Enrique.

– Germans join ‘rights’ protest -Germany lined up with T-shirts that spelled out “human rights” ahead of their 3-0 Group J win over Iceland amid concerns over alleged human rights abuses in Qatar, the controversial hosts of next year’s finals.

On Monday, Amnesty International said “thousands of migrant workers continue to be exploited and abused” in stadium construction despite labour reforms put in place by Doha since the country was awarded the tournament.

“We have the World Cup coming up and there will be discussions about it… we wanted to show we are not ignoring that,” goalscorer Leon Goretzka told broadcaster RTL.

“We have a large reach — and we can use it to set an example for the values we want to stand for. That was clear.”

Once on the pitch Joachim Loew’s side got off to a rapid start, with Goretzka and Kai Havertz firing the hosts into a two-goal lead inside seven minutes.

Manchester City’s Ilkay Gundogan continued his fine recent goalscoring form, collecting the ball 10 minutes after the break and drilling home a low shot.

– Italy enjoy comeback -First-half goals from Domenico Berardi and Ciro Immobile were enough for Italy to ease past the Northern Ireland 2-0 in their first World Cup match since their humiliating failure to qualify for the 2018 tournament in Russia.

Berardi scored his fourth goal in five internationals after racing through to meet Alessandro Florenzi’s defence-splitting pass before lashing the opener past Bailey Peacock-Farrell from a tight angle.

Immobile doubled the hosts’ lead in Parma by ending a rapid counter-attack with a near-post shot that squeezed home, and despite an improved second-half performance from the away side Italy easily held on for the win.

They sit second in Group C, level on points with Switzerland who beat Bulgaria 3-1.

James Ward-Prowse and Ollie Watkins scored their first international goals as England thumped San Marino 5-0, with Dominic Calvert-Lewin hitting a brace and stand-in captain Raheem Sterling also netting in a comfortable win.

Robert Lewandowski struck with seven minutes remaining in Budapest to earn Poland a late point in a thrilling 3-3 draw with Hungary.

The visitors had already come back once from two goals down to level when Willi Orban put the hosts ahead again in the 78th minute.

But Bayern striker Lewandowski lashed home his side’s second leveller five minutes later to earn a point.

John McGinn’s stunning overhead kick five minutes from time rescued Scotland from a losing start to their campaign in an entertaining 2-2 draw with Austria.

AFP

Sweden Resumes AstraZeneca Vaccine Use For Seniors


HAZEM BADER / AFP

 

Sweden’s Public Health Agency on Thursday announced it was resuming the use of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine after it was put on pause over blood clot fears, but limited it to seniors.

Following other European countries, Sweden suspended vaccinations with the AstraZeneca jab in mid-March following reports of severe blood clots potentially linked to the vaccine.

Last week the EU drugs regulator EMA said the vaccine was “safe and effective” and not linked to a higher risk of blood clots, but could not “rule out definitively” its role in a rare clotting disorder.

While many other nations resumed using the AstraZeneca vaccine following the EMA’s announcement, Nordic countries maintained their suspensions pending further checks.

“AstraZeneca is a very effective vaccine, and there is a great need for protection against Covid-19 among the elderly. Especially now when we are seeing an increased spread of transmission,” state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell told a press conference on Thursday as he announced inoculations should resume.

However the jab would be restricted to those over 65, as reports of complications among those younger than that age continued to be investigated.

“We are continuing the pause in that group until we have more information about what the risks actually are,” Tegnell said.

Finland and Iceland made similar announcements earlier in the week, while Denmark said Thursday it was extending its total suspension for another three weeks.

A decision from Norway is expected on Friday.

According to data from the World Health Organization, Sweden has seen an incidence rate in the last 14 days of 604 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, an increase of 16 percent.

Sweden, a country of 10.3 million inhabitants, has so far recorded 773,690 cases of Covid-19 and 13,373 associated deaths.

Vaccinations began in late December and as of Wednesday 9.8 percent of the population have received a first dose, while 4.2 percent have been fully vaccinated.

-AFP

Seven Injured In Sweden Knife Attack 

Police have cordoned off the scene where a man attacked eight people with a “sharp weapon,” seriously injuring seven, in the Swedish city of Vetlanda on March 3, 202I. Mikael FRITZON / TT NEWS AGENCY / AFP

 

 

The small Swedish town of Vetlanda was in shock on Thursday, reeling from a stabbing attack that left seven injured, while police said it was too early to determine the motives of the suspected 22-year old Afghan assailant.

Authorities said Thursday the case was being treated as attempted murder, while police said they were investigating “potential terror motives.”

“The motive is an important aspect of the investigation as it could affect the potential charge,” regional police chief Malena Grann told a press conference, adding that the attacker seemed to have acted alone.

While stressing that the investigation is in its early stages, Grann said police had already questioned witnesses, collected evidence and searched the man’s residence.

Police had informed the arrested man, identified only as a 22-year-old with Afghan citizenship, that he was a suspect but had yet to question about the actual act.

All the injured were men, born between 1945 and 1985.

“There is currently nothing that indicates any type of relation between the suspect and the plaintiffs,” local police chief Jonas Lindell told reporters.

– ‘Nightmare’ –
The suspect was taken to hospital after being shot in the leg by police following the attack in the town of 13,000 people in southern Sweden.

“Right now we are a municipality in shock and given what we are hearing from elsewhere the whole country is in shock,” Vetlanda Mayor Henrik Tvarno told a press conference.

“There are so many questions that we are looking for answers to. What has happened, what is behind this? It is a nightmare,” Tvarno added.

On Thursday, several police officers patrolled the area where the bloody attack occurred the day before.

 

Police have cordoned off the scene where a man attacked eight people with a “sharp weapon,” seriously injuring seven, in the Swedish city of Vetlanda on March 3, 2021.  Mikael FRITZON / TT NEWS AGENCY / AFP

 

A heart-shaped bouquet of red roses and candles was placed near the scene of one of the stabbings.

“It’s a small town and we’ve never had something like this happen before and I think it’s quite shocking,” 54-year-old Vetlanda resident Ulrika Lovfor told AFP.

Three of those attacked were said to have suffered life-threatening injuries, but were in stable condition, while two others were in serious condition, according to the local health authority in Jonkoping where they were being treated in hospital.

Public prosecutor Adam Rullman also told AFP on Thursday that in the event of it being designated a terrorist crime it would be handled by a special unit within the Prosecution Authority.

“They have not deemed it necessary for them to take over the investigation at this stage,” Rullman added.

The prosecution authority later said in a statement that they had requested the district court to remand the suspect in custody, with a hearing expected on Friday.

– ‘Attack on innocent people’ –
According to media reports, the suspect arrived in Sweden in 2018 and was awaiting a decision on a residence permit.

Several thousand young Afghans have travelled to Sweden to seek asylum in recent years, with many arriving via Iran.

Initial reports said eight people hade been injured but a police statement early Thursday revised the number to seven.

The suspect was a resident of the area and previously known to police, but in the past had only been accused of “petty crimes”, including small-scale cannabis use, according to local media reports.

READ ALSO: Arsenal Boss Arteta Dismisses Barcelona Speculation

Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, Prime Minister Stefan Lofven called it an “attack on innocent people” but he too noted the investigation remained an attempted murder probe.

“A lot is still unknown, but one thing is certain and that is that every attack against innocents will be met by the joint strength of all of Sweden,” Lofven said.

Swedish intelligence services say the possibility of an Islamist extremist attack was considered high, with the Scandinavian country having been targeted twice in recent years.

In December 2010, a man carried out a suicide bomb attack in the centre of Stockholm. He died after only slightly injuring passers-by.

In April 2017, a radicalised Uzbek asylum seeker ran over pedestrians in Stockholm with a stolen truck, killing five people. He was sentenced to life in prison.

The country has also seen extremist violence linked to the far-right.

In 2015, a racially motivated attack at a school left three dead.

AFP

Four Die In Sweden After Falling Through Ice On Lake

Aerial view shows a boat making its way through the icy water of Lidingo, near Stockholm, Sweden, on February 22, 2021. Jonathan NACKSTRAND / AFP
Aerial view shows a boat making its way through the icy water of Lidingo, near Stockholm, Sweden, on February 22, 2021. Jonathan NACKSTRAND / AFP

 

Four people were killed when they fell through the ice on a lake in southern Sweden on Thursday, police said, as the country experiences a spell of unseasonably mild weather.

Four men aged between 65 and 75 were found in a hole in the ice on Savsjo lake, south of the town of Jonkoping, and could not be resuscitated after being pulled out of the water, a local police spokesperson told AFP.

The exact circumstances of the incident were yet to be determined, she said.

READ ALSO: UK Sanctions Myanmar Army Chief For Coup Role

Accidents caused by people walking across unstable ice are common in Sweden, but it is rare for the death toll to be so high.

After several weeks of intense cold throughout most of the country, which drew walkers to frozen lakes and estuaries, parts of Sweden have seen a rapid hike in temperature over the past few days.

A national heat record for February was set on Thursday, according to the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute.

A temperature of 16.8 degrees Celsius (62.2 degrees Fahrenheit) was registered in Kalmar, in the southeast of the country.

AFP

Sweden Reverses Face Mask Policy, Recommends Use In Public

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven adresses a press conference on December 18, 2020 in Stockholm on new restrictions during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. Jessica GOW / TT NEWS AGENCY / AFP
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven adresses a press conference on December 18, 2020 in Stockholm on new restrictions during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. Jessica GOW / TT NEWS AGENCY / AFP

 

Sweden on Friday did a U-turn on face masks, recommending they be worn on public transport at peak times, having previously resisted their use in the fight against Covid-19 except in healthcare.

Throughout the pandemic the country has stood apart from other nations by shunning lockdowns, and being one of the few holdouts in recommending widespread mask use, even after the World Health Organization (WHO) changed their advice in June.

Announcing several new measures, Prime Minister Stefan Lofven told a news conference the Public Health Agency was now “recommending face masks and that they should be used on public transport at certain times”.

READ ALSO: US Vice President Pence Receives COVID-19 Vaccine

The country’s health officials have repeatedly been questioned on this reluctance but Johan Carlson, director of the Public Health Agency, stressed Friday they maintained that face masks should not be considered a substitute for keeping physical distance, and the recommendation was limited to situations were that was impossible.

“We don’t think it will have a deciding effect, but in this specific situation it can have a positive effect,” Carlson said, adding that wearing them in the street did not seem to be significant.

In addition to the face mask recommendation, Lofven said that as of December 24, the maximum number of people allowed to share a restaurant table would be limited to four and restaurants and bars would not be allowed to sell alcohol after 8:00 pm.

“The situation unfortunately continues to be very serious. The spread of infection is high and the situation in healthcare is very strained,” Lofven said, urging people to take precautions and limit their Christmas celebrations.

The government said that caps on the number of visitors to stores and gyms would be introduced, and warned they could be closed if it was not effective.

Hospitalisations exceed April peak

Swedish officials said earlier this week that the number of covid hospitalisations had topped a peak registered in April, with more than 2,500 admissions.

The number of deaths in the country of 10.3 million reached 7,993 on Friday, with more than 500 people in the past week and nearly 2,000 since the beginning of November.

Cited initially worldwide for its softer approach to fighting the pandemic, Sweden has tightened preventative measures in recent months.

As cases multiplied, authorities urged people to limit social interactions to immediate family or a few friends.

A ban on public gatherings of more than eight people took effect last month.

Contrary to media reports, the country never targeted so-called herd immunity as part of its official strategy.

But health officials did argue that widespread infections earlier this year should weaken a second wave, until numbers started climbing in mid-October.

Rather than clamping down now, Lofven said the government was pursuing a long-term strategy because “people would not put up” with a strict lockdown.

The government is preparing a one-year “pandemic law” that could limit the number of people in public places and regulate businesses and services by restricting opening hours or forcing them to close.

AFP

Ibrahimovic Hints At Possible Sweden National Team Return

 

AC Milan’s Swedish forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic reacts as he opens the scoring during the Italian serie A football match Napoli vs AC Milan on November 22, 2020 at the San Paolo stadium in Naples.
ANDREAS SOLARO / AFP

AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic said on Wednesday that he missed playing for Sweden and hinted that he may be open to a return to the national side for next year’s Euros. 

The 39-year-old, who retired from international football after the World Cup in 2016, opened the door for a return after being awarded Sweden’s Footballer of the Year award for an astonishing 12th time.

“If you ask me I’ll be honest: yes, I miss the national team,” he told Swedish daily Aftonbladet. “It’s no secret.”

“The one who does not miss it, he has already finished his career. And I have not finished my career.”

Ibra, who scored 62 goals in 116 internationals, has been in impressive form for AC Milan since his summer move, heading the Serie A scoring charts with 10 goals already this season.

He was more opaque, however, when asked directly how would he respond if coach Janne Andersson called him.

“Give me time, I have to think about it,” said Ibrahimovic.

Without him, Sweden qualified directly for the Euros where they will face Spain, Poland and Slovakia there. But a poor Nations League campaign which produced one win and five losses, and resulted in relegation from the A Group has rekindled thoughts of an Ibrahimovic return.

In November, he posted an old photo of himself on social media, wearing a Sweden shirt and the captain’s armband with the phrase “Long time no see”.

Andersson appeared less enamoured of the idea when he was also cornered by Aftonbladet.

“I’m pretty annoyed,” said Andersson.

“He told me in 2016 that he wanted to retire and I respected his choice. So now it’s up to him.

“If he wants to be involved in the national team again, to change his mind, he must say it clearly. In this case, it will be up to me to decide.

“I would be lying if I said I was surprised. I’m impressed and struck by how he continues to have that hunger on the pitch, that quality in everything he does.

“He’s a great athlete, by far the best Swedish player of all time. What he does is amazing, I can only congratulate him.”

Ibrahimovic is currently injured after scoring twice in Naples at the weekend but he insists he will not be out of action for long.

“It’s nothing serious,” he said. “Just one or two weeks.”

-AFP

Huawei Appeals Swedish 5G Ban

The logo of Chinese company Huawei is seen on the screen of a Huawei mobile phone held in the photographer's hand in London on July 14, 2020. - Britain on Tuesday ordered its telecom providers to stop purchasing 5G equipment from China's Huawei giant from the start of next year, and to strip out all of its equipment by 2027. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP)
. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP)

 

Chinese telecoms group Huawei has appealed Sweden’s decision to ban it from the country’s 5G network for security reasons, a legal filing obtained by AFP on Friday showed.

The ban, announced by the Swedish Post and Telecom Authority (PTS) on October 20, “lacks legal basis, violates fundamental human rights, violates fundamental EU legal principles … and is incorrect in substance,” Huawei wrote in its appeal to PTS and the Stockholm administrative court.

If carried out, it would cause “exceptionally comprehensive and irreparable damage” to its business, Huawei added.

PTS has said that its ban, which also affects Chinese company ZTE, is in line with new legislation that took effect in January 2020, following an examination by Sweden’s armed forces and security service “to ensure that the use of radio equipment in these (5G network) bands does not cause harm to Sweden’s security.”

Carriers using any existing Huawei and ZTE installations must also remove them by January 2025, PTS said.

The United States alleges Chinese firms are used to spy for Beijing — allegations which China denies — and has piled pressure on allies to cut Huawei from their telecommunications infrastructure.

Huawei said in its appeal there was “no concrete evidence of a cybersecurity threat” posed by the company, and insisted that “the Chinese state cannot order Huawei to spy”.

China’s embassy in Stockholm has previously urged the Swedish government to review its decision.

-AFP

‘COVID Had The Courage To Challenge Me’: Ibrahimovic Taunts Virus After Positive Test

File photo: AC Milan’s forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic from Sweden looks on during the warm up before the Italian Serie A football match AC Milan vs Bologna played behind closed doors on July 18, 2020 at the San Siro Stadium in Milan, as the country eases its lockdown aimed at curbing the spread of the COVID-19 infection, caused by the novel coronavirus. (Photo by MARCO BERTORELLO / AFP)

 

 

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is not weighed down after AC Milan on Thursday confirmed he had contracted COVID-19 and had taken to social media to taunt the virus. 

“I tested negative to Covid yesterday and positive today,” the Swede tweeted on Thursday, confirming his status. “No symptoms whatsoever. Covid had the courage to challenge me. Bad idea.”

“AC Milan announces that Zlatan Ibrahimovic has tested positive for the swab performed for today’s match, Milan-Bodo/Glimt,” the Serie A side had said earlier in the day.

According to the club, the player has been quarantined after they carried out a test on players and staff.

“All the other swabs carried out on the team group were negative,” the club explained.

The former Manchester United forward returned to Milan in January 2020 and scored 10 goals in 18 league games for Stefano Pioli’s outfit as they ended the season sixth on the log.

He was on the score sheet on Monday when they defeated Bologna 2-0 win.

“I’m fine, I’m working, this is the second official match,” he said after scoring against Bologna.

Ibrahimovic also netted a goal during a Europa League qualifier against Shamrock Rovers.

Last month, he reached an agreement on a new deal for another season reportedly worth seven million euros ($8.3m).

The seven-time European champions moved up from 11th on his arrival to sixth, finishing the league season on a 12-game unbeaten run.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sweden’s Police Frustrated By Criminal ‘Clans’, As Crime Escalates

(FILES) Police work on August 2, 2020 at the site where a twelve-year-old girl was shot dead near a petrol station in Botkyrka, south of Stockholm. Police in Sweden says they’re struggling to control mafia-like criminal “clans” exercising their own form of justice, amid an escalation of violent crime in what has long been a tranquil and safe country.

 

Police in Sweden says they’re struggling to control criminal “clans” exercising their own form of justice, amid an escalation of violent crime in what has long been a tranquil and safe country.

With close family loyalties and little regard for the authorities, a few dozen criminal gangs now wield considerable influence over some of Sweden’s disadvantaged neighbourhoods, say experts.

Shootings, bombings and grenade attacks have become regular events in cities and towns across the country. Media outlets report on drug wars, blackmail, and witnesses too fearful of repercussions to testify.

“Have you seen the movie ‘The Godfather’? Then you know what it’s like,” journalist Johanna Backstrom Lerneby, who wrote a book about one of Sweden’s most infamous crime families, told AFP.

Gang members tied to the family Backstrom Lerneby wrote about recently made headlines in Sweden when, during a feud with a rival gang in August, they set up makeshift roadblocks, stopping cars and asking to see passengers’ ID cards.

One young man interviewed by broadcaster SVT, who would not give his full name but claimed to be involved in the car checks, said the controls were set up to “protect residents and children in the area”.

– Sidelined authorities –

The feud came to a halt in late August — but not because police arrested any suspects.

Instead, members of several gangs met at a Gothenburg hotel and agreed to end hostilities, effectively ending the strife overnight.

“It’s very frustrating because it is a good solution in the short term… but it was resolved in the wrong way,” local police officer Fredrik Terje told SVT, deploring that authorities had been sidelined as criminals set the agenda.

The problem of these “criminal clans” has made headlines since early September, when deputy police chief Mats Lofving told Swedish Radio there were at least 40 family-based criminal gangs in Sweden.

“Far from everyone wants to be a part of Swedish society,” Lofving said, adding these families had come to Sweden solely for the purpose of committing crime, bringing with them their own parallel systems of government.

Lofving said these families were making their way into business and politics in order to wield more formal influence, primarily in disadvantaged suburbs, many of which have a large proportion of residents with immigrant backgrounds.

Sweden has struggled to integrate many of its immigrants, with thousands failing to learn the language proficiently and find jobs in its highly skilled labour market.

“Those who live in these vulnerable areas are often relatively poor people who don’t have a choice, even if they wanted to move away,” Backstrom Lerneby said.

The violence has also harmed innocent bystanders. In early August, a 12-year-old girl was killed by a stray bullet in a drive-by shooting in Stockholm, sparking an outcry over the ruthless violence.

In early September, Prime Minister Stefan Lofven called the criminal gangs a “poison in our society that we need to get rid of”.

Police have not disclosed which criminal groups have this family structure nor which countries they’re from.

In recent decades however, gangs with roots in the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans have made headlines.

Lofven himself has nevertheless refused to “link crime to ethnicity”, a sensitive subject in the public debate amid accusations of xenophobia.

– Dug in –

Overall, Sweden remains a country with low levels of violence. Its murder rate in 2018 was 1.07 per 100,000 inhabitants compared to the European average of 2.39, according to Eurostat, and compared to 5.0 in the United States according to the FBI.

But Sweden’s Minister for Home Affairs Mikael Damberg expressed concern in an interview with AFP that the family-based gangs had gained a foothold.

“These family-based networks have existed for some time in Sweden. They have been able to dig in, especially in the vulnerable areas in Sweden, where the state hasn’t been present enough,” Damberg told AFP.

It was important for authorities to move back in, he added.

Police have made it a priority to increase their presence in these neighbourhoods, an important move “to show that Swedish law applies in Sweden”, he said.

The government has, among other things, increased surveillance powers for police, toughened sentences for drugs- and weapons-related crimes and rolled back more lenient sentencing policies for young offenders.

But in a widely reported statement in late August, police officials admitted they were still struggling.

“We are working intensively, around the clock, and despite that the serious violence is continuing… We’re not backing down and we’re not giving up, but the situation right now is very stressful,” national police chief Anders Thornberg said.

During the first six months of 2020, 20 people have been killed in 163 shootings in the country of 10.3 million, compared to 42 deaths in 334 reported shootings in all of 2019, according to police.

Ronaldo Scores Brace Against Sweden To Cross 100-Goal Mark

Portugal's forward Cristiano Ronaldo (L) shoots past Sweden's defender Filip Helander (C) and Sweden's defender Pontus Jansson during the UEFA Nations League football match between Sweden and Portugal on September 8, 2020 in Solna, Sweden. Jonathan NACKSTRAND / AFP
Portugal’s forward Cristiano Ronaldo (L) shoots past Sweden’s defender Filip Helander (C) and Sweden’s defender Pontus Jansson during the UEFA Nations League football match between Sweden and Portugal on September 8, 2020, in Solna, Sweden. Jonathan NACKSTRAND / AFP

 

Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice against 10-man Sweden on Tuesday to take him to 101 international goals for Portugal on Tuesday.

The mythical 100-mark was broken on the stroke of half-time of a UEFA Nations League match against Sweden.

The 35-year-old Juventus attacker curled in a free-kick from 25 yards over the wall and into the far left corner beyond Sweden’s stranded goalkeeper Robin Olsen for a memorable milestone in his trophy-laden career.

The bonus second goal, and his 101st, came in the 72nd minute, the former Manchester United and Real Madrid player cutting back inside the Swedish defence and producing a deft finish into the far corner from 20 yards.

After making his first senior international appearance as an 18-year-old in 2003, Ronaldo notched up his first goal for Portugal in a 2-1 defeat by eventual winners Greece at Euro 2004.

Ronaldo, capped 165 times by Portugal, is second only to Iran’s Ali Daei, on 109, in the list of top men’s international goal scorers.

Incredibly for Ronaldo, just 17 of his 100 goals have come in friendly matches, and his nine hat-tricks all came in FIFA or UEFA tournaments or qualifying games.

His 100th goal came at a stadium in Sweden which was the scene of a memorable Ronaldo display in the second leg of a World Cup qualifying playoff in 2013.

Ronaldo had scored the only goal in the first leg, and then exchanged goals with Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the second.

Ronaldo hit a hat-trick between the 50th and 79th minute while the Swedish star hit two in four minutes in the middle of the outburst. Portugal won the match and the playoff.

 

 

AFP

Chasing A Century, Ronaldo Hints At Return Against Sweden

Portugal’s forward Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates his team’s victory at the end of the UEFA Nations League final football match between Portugal and The Netherlands at the Dragao Stadium in Porto on June 9, 2019. PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA / AFP

 

Portuguese media and fans were on Monday anticipating Cristiano Ronaldo’s 100th international goal after the attacker hinted on social media that he was fit to return to face Sweden.

Ronaldo missed the opening game of his country’s Nations League defence against Croatia with a toe infection, but posted “happy to be back” on Instragram on Sunday, along with photos showing him training with the squad for the first time since last Tuesday.

Portugal play Sweden on Tuesday in Solna, the scene of a memorable Ronaldo display in the second leg of a World Cup qualifying playoff in 2013.

Ronaldo had scored the only goal in the first leg, and then exchanged goals with Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the second. Ronaldo hit a hat-trick between the 50th and 79th minute while the Swedish star hit two in four minutes in the middle of the outburst. Portugal won the match and the playoff.

The 35-year-old Juventus star has now scored 99 international goals and is chasing the men’s record of 109 by Ali Daei of Iran.

Yet while Portuguese media were on Monday excited by the prospect, the emphatic 4-1 win over Croatia led some to suggest Portugal could free itself from its “Ronaldo-dependance”.

“Never has Portugal had so many quality attacking players,” wrote Manuel Queiroz in sports daily O Jogo, singling out Bruno Fernandes of Manchester United, Bernardo Silva of Manchester City and Joao Felix of Atletico Madrid. He added that the country has “a great deck of cards even without the fourth ace.”

Other publications praised Manchester City right back Joao Cancelo, who opened the scoring with a curling left-foot shot and others mentioned Ronaldo’s replacement Diogo Jota of Wolves.

AFP

Sweden Uncovers 3,700 False Positives From COVID-19 Test Kit

Karin Hildebrand, a doctor in an intensive care unit (ICU) in Stockholm’s Sodersjukhuset hospital walks in a corridor before treating patients with COVID-19 on June 11, 2020, during the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Jonathan NACKSTRAND / AFP)

 

Sweden’s Public Health Agency said Tuesday a faulty test kit had returned some 3,700 false positive results, an error discovered by two laboratories during routine quality controls.

The agency said the PCR kits, which test for an ongoing COVID-19 infection, were made in China by the company BGI Genomics and had been distributed worldwide.

In Sweden, the kits were used by people conducting at-home tests between period March and August, the agency said.

Mostly, “people who had mild symptoms or who didn’t feel any symptoms at the time of the test received false positive results,” the agency said in a statement.

It added that it would contact those affected this week, as well as adjusting Sweden’s official number of cases.

“The faulty test kit has been reported to the Swedish Medical Products Agency. It has been exported by China to many other countries,” the agency said, adding that it has “informed relevant authorities in Europe and the WHO”.

Sweden on Tuesday said it had 86,891 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus and 5,814 deaths.

AFP