July 7, 2018 / 12:26 PM / a month ago

Swedish vicar hopes to get to the match on time after wedding

SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - Soccer-mad Swedish vicar Ingo Soederlund will be hoping no extra time is needed on Saturday as he performs the wedding ceremony of a Swedish-English couple before the World Cup quarter-final between the two nations in Russia.

Soccer Football - World Cup - Sweden Training - Samara Arena, Samara, Russia - July 6, 2018 Sweden's Jimmy Durmaz and Martin Olsson during training REUTERS/Michael Dalder

Soederlund is due to perform the ceremony at the Grundsunds church north of Gothenburg for a Swedish bride and her English groom just 45 minutes before kickoff in Samara.

“Hopefully all the guests will be in place by a quarter past three (CET, 1315 GMT) and we can get going. The community centre 100 metres away is showing the game so we’ll rush up there afterwards,” Soederlund told Reuters as he prepared for the ceremony.

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The football-loving minister, who saw his side’s 2-1 loss to Germany in Sochi but couldn’t find a replacement to cover his duties for the other games, revealed that he would be wearing a Sweden shirt under his vestments.

“I’m very nervous about the game, but the wedding might calm me down a bit,” he said. “I think Sweden will do well thanks to their preparations, the love of the Swedish people and a little prayer or two.”

Soederlund said he had managed to find another vicar to cover for him should Sweden make it to the final in Moscow in a week’s time. On Saturday he expected Sweden to win 2-1 with Marcus Berg scoring both goals.

“Prayers have been said for the individual players and coaches and the other leaders. I haven’t prayed for a specific result, but I’m still hoping my prayers will be answered,” the vicar said.

Reporting by Philip O'Connor; editing by Clare Lovell

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