Soccer

Spain defender Llorente joins Busquets in testing positive for Covid-19 as Euro 2020 opponents Sweden lose Kulusevski

The Spanish FA admitted that there could be more coronavirus cases to come, as their Group E rivals also announced two players have the virus

Diego Llorente has become the second Spain player to test positive for Covid-19 in recent days as kickoff of Euro 2020 fast approaches, while their opponents in their opening fixture, Sweden, have had forward Dejan Kulusevski ruled out for the same reason.

The Spanish federation confirmed the Leeds defender’s test results in a statement on Tuesday, two days after Busquets tested positive and raising the spectre of further positives ahead of Spain’s first Euros match on Monday. 

The Swedish FA meanwhile confirmed Juventus attacker Kulusevski reported suffering from cold symptoms on Tuesday and was quickly tested for Covid-19, with the result coming back positive and teh player going into self-isolation.

What was said of Llorente?

Luis Rubiales, president of the Spanish FA (RFEF), said on Teledeporte prior to Llorente’s result that “there are likely to be more positives” within the Spain camp.

After the comments from Rubiales, the RFEF confirmed Llorente’s result, saying: “The RFEF regrets to announce that central defender Diego Llorente has tested positive in the most recent PCR tests carried out this morning at the national team setup in Las Rozas. 

“The player will leave the national team tonight in a medical vehicle, following all the established health protocols.”

‘A parallel bubble’

Spain’s players have been kept in isolation since Busquets returned a positive test result, with five players called up to train in a “parallel bubble” in which they won’t mix with the rest of the squad.

Rodrigo Moreno, Pablo Fornals, Carlos Soler, Brais Mendez and Raul Albiol were all called up to help bolster Spain’s depth. 

With Spain’s senior players in isolation, a team of Under-21 players was called in to face Lithuania in a friendly on Tuesday. Even with a team full of youngsters, Spain won the match 4-0. 

What about Sweden?

Spain will face Sweden on Monday, with the Swedes also having confirmed two positive Covid-19 cases in recent days: Kulusevski and Bologna defender Mattias Svanberg.

The Swedish FA confirmed that on Tuesday their men’s national team traveled to Gothenburg for the last part of training before the Euros, however Kulusevski stayed in Stockholm..

National team doctor Anders Valentin told the Sweden FA’s website: “This morning, Kulusevski informed the medical team that he had cold symptoms. Dejan was tested immediately and that test was positive. Dejan has since been kept isolated from the rest of the group and did not travel with us to Gothenburg.”

Sweden captain Janne Andersson added: “This is sad for us, but above all for Dejan himself. We will not call in any reserve but hope that Dejan can rejoin the squad after the match against Spain.”

The opening game of the tournament – rearranged from last summer because of the coronavirus pandemic – is between Italy and Turkey in Rome on Friday night.

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