World Cup 2010 Qualifying: Sweden vs. Albania
The Swedes blew their chances of making the World Cup with a defeat to Denmark but if Portugal somehow fails to beat Malta this evening, their clash against the Red and Blacks will suddenly be of great importance once more.
And tonight, the Blue-Yellows must pick up three points at home to Albania.
Meanwhile Henrik Larsson has announced that he will retire from international football this week. The former Barcelona striker will play his last match tonight as the Swedes push for an unlikely World Cup qualification place.
At 38, Larsson is already the oldest player ever to play outfield for Sweden. And in just over 100 appearances, he’s netted 37 times and helped his country qualify for three World Cups.
Coach Lars Lagerback and assistant Roland Andersson also announced that tonight’s game against Albania will be their last for their country.
Lagerback has been in charge since 2000, but with Sweden looking likely to miss out on a World Cup play-off place to Portugal, the 61-year-old has been forced to consider his future.
“We have decided to quit,” said Lagerback. “I think it’s better for the national team to have a fresh start. It’s been a qualifying campaign where we haven’t been able to get the ball in the net.”
The match kicks-off at 7:45 p.m. CET (1:45 p.m. ET).
UPDATE: Olof Mellberg scored two first-half goals as Sweden beat Albania 4-1. However Portugal’s 4-0 victory over Malta condemned them to elimination. Marcus Berg and Anders Svensson also scored for the Swedes.