Hosts France, world champions Germany and holders Spain are ‘the three big favourites’ to win Euro 2016, Sweden national football coach Erik Hamren said yesterday as his squad began preparations for the upcoming tournament. Belgium, one of Sweden’s opponents in the group stage, ‘play terrific football’ and have an ‘outside’ chance, he told reporters. Asked who could be the top scorer at Euro 2016, Hamren said Sweden captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic could clinch that title, “judging by his [current] form. But we have to advance far.”
Sweden’s group at the June 10-July 10 tournament in France also comprises Ireland and Italy. Ibrahimovic did not to take part in yesterday’s s training due to some pain in a calf, Hamren said, adding he did not consider that to be a big issue.
“You always have some problems when you start a pre-camp,” Hamren said. The 34-year-old captain made his last appearance for Paris Saint-Germain at the weekend when he scored two goals in the French Cup final. Also missing from yesterday’s training were defender Martin Olsson of Norwich and Hamburg SV midfielder Albin Ekdal. Hamren said he was hopeful that Ekdal who recently sustained a cut in his back could be included in his final squad, but added he was mulling options.
The coach can make changes in the squad until May 31, the day after Sweden hosts Slovenia for a friendly in the southern city of Malmo. About a third of the provisional 23-strong squad were absent yesterday due to commitments for their clubs, including forward Marcus Berg of Panathinaikos and veteran midfielder Kim Kallstrom of Swiss side Grasshoppers.
Izzo questioned as prosecutors probe Serie B fixing
Italian magistrates have announced the opening of an investigation into an match-fixing affair that allegedly saw corrupt Serie B players help change the outcome of matches to benefit Mafia gangsters.
Genoa defender Armando Izzo is one of several players being questioned. It is reported that members of the Naples-based Camorra clan gave Serie B players cash to fix results so they could subsequently bet huge sums on the pre-arranged matches.
A series of dawn raids were carried out on yesterday morning when police arrested a total of 10 members of the Camorra, seven of whom were already in prison.
They are accused of corrupting players, who then fixed the outcomes of two second division games in 2014: Avellino-Reggina (3-0) and Modena-Avellino (0-1), in 2014.
A statement from federal prosecutors confirmed: “In relation to the investigation conducted by the Anti-Mafia Directorate of Naples, which this morning led to a series of arrests for the illegal activity of betting on matches in Serie B, the federal prosecutor Stefano Palazzi has requested the transmission of all documents relevant to the investigation. “In the following hours, federal prosecutors will formally open an investigation into the affair.” Izzo, a former Avellino player who is now with Genoa in Italy’s Serie A, is being questioned alongside Avellino captain Francesco Millesi, said the report.
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