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

4:40 pm AEST 9/6/21
Diego Llorente Spain 2021
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 the Euro 2020 kick-off date fast approaches, while their opponents in their opening fixture, Sweden, have had winger Dejan Kulusevski ruled out for the same reason.

The Spanish football federation (RFEF) confirmed Leeds United defender Llorente's test results in a statement on Tuesday, two days after Barcelona's Busquets tested positive and raised the spectre of further cases 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 the player going into self-isolation.

What was said of Llorente?

Luis Rubiales, president of the Spanish FA, 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 six senior players called up to train in a "parallel bubble" in which they won't be allowed to mix with the rest of the squad - along with 11 footballers from the Under-21s

Kepa Arrizabalaga, 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 U21 players was called in to face Lithuania in a friendly on Tuesday. Even with a team full of youngsters, La Roja won the match 4-0. 

After this game, the Spanish FA confirmed 11 of the U21s had been added to the "parallel bubble", to remain on standby in case of any more positive cases.

Alvaro Fernandez, Oscar Mingueza, Marc Cucurella, Bryan Gil, Juan Miranda, Gonzalo Villar, Pozo, Brahim, Zubimendi, Yeremy Pino and Javi Puado were called up and trained with the six already bubbled players on Wednesday morning.

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 travelled 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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