Soccer-Swedes call up reserves to separate COVID 'bubble'

FILE PHOTO: Sweden's head coach Janne Andersson looks on during a news conference after the UEFA Nations League football match between Sweden and France at Friends Arena in Stockholm, Sweden September 05, 2020. TT News Agency/Joel Marklund via REUTERS

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Sweden boss Janne Andersson has called up six reserve players to train in a separate bubble in case they are needed to replace others who test positive for COVID-19 ahead of their Euro 2020 opener against Spain on Monday.

The coach told a news conference on Thursday that positive tests by midfielders Dejan Kulusevski and Mattias Svanberg meant he had to rethink his plans around the 26-man squad.

"Tuesday was a busy day with two positive tests. Yesterday we evaluated the situation and what we can do to cover ourselves even more, and that led to us making the decision to create a reserve bubble," Andersson told reporters.

The six players - Jacob Rinne, Mattias Johansson, Joakim Nilsson, Niklas Hult, Jesper Karlsson and Isaac Kiese Thelin - will be coached by Under-21 boss Poya Asbaghi.

"They'll be here until Sunday to begin with, Sunday at midnight we will submit a squad to UEFA with the 26 players who will take part (against Spain), after that we can't change anything if it is not a goalkeeper."

The Swedes take on Spain in Seville on Monday before meeting Slovakia and Poland in St. Petersburg, Russia in their other Group E games.

(Reporting by Philip O'Connor; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)

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