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Sweden’s Nilla Fischer: ‘There will always be idiots – but you can’t give up’

In an exclusive interview the defender talks about Euro 2017, gender equality, LGBT rights and receiving death threats after wearing a rainbow-armband for Wolfsburg

When Nilla Fischer looks at the younger faces around her in the Sweden dressing room, she sees evidence of a sport growing more comfortable in its own skin. “There’s both a good side and a bad side to it but they don’t have the same respect for the older players,” she says, with a half chuckle. “It doesn’t matter to them who they tackle or go up against. They’re just focused on winning and they want to show off, in a good way.”

Sixteen and a half years have passed since Fischer, who should win her 161st cap when Sweden begin their Euro 2017 campaign against Germany on Monday, first played a senior international game. That is almost exactly how old she was at the time, too. She admits to being “really nervous and scared” as a young player; perhaps too happy simply to be there, too deferential to those with greater experience and lacking the self-confidence to make her voice heard.

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