Happy families and happy football for Sweden captain Granqvist

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Samara, July 6 (IANS) Andres Granqvist is a busy man at the moment: not only is the 33-year Sweden captain putting the finishing touches to preparations for his side’s World Cup quarter-final against England on Saturday, but he also became a father for the second time in the early hours of Thursday morning.

Granqvist’s wife, Sofie, gave birth to the couple’s second child, although Granqvist was not there for the happy event after she had told him to stay in Russia to help Sweden’s World Cup prospects, reports Xinhua news agency.

“It’s quite simple, getting a daughter is the most beautiful thing you can get as a human being and for a footballer, it’s a dream to play in the quarterfinal of the World Cup, so I am just trying to enjoy the moment,” Granqvist said in a press conference on Thursday.

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“It was good timing, I didn’t sleep much last night, my wife did a great job back home and both her and the baby are doing very well,” added the Sweden skipper, who also spoke about Saturday’s game and his side’s team spirit.

“Our strength is that we are a collective and we have our own style of play. Maybe we are not the best team as individuals, but we are a team, everyone helps and that is what symbolizes us,” he noted, adding that Sweden and England have one thing in common.

“We are both very dangerous at set pieces. We will have to be very strong in the area to ensure they don’t get the service they want,” said Granqvist, who will probably have the job of marking England captain and the World Cup’s leading goalscorer, Harry Kane.

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“He’s very skilful. Not just at penalties but in everything he does, and we’ll have to work hard to stop him,” he cautioned.

The Swede is not the only player to become a father during the current World Cup. England midfielder Fabian Delph’s wife gave birth to their third child after the group stage. Unlike Granqvist, Delph made the trip home and was unable to play in England’s last 16 clash with Colombia in order to be at her wife’s side.

–IANS

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