Lars Lagerback admits it would be better for Sweden to have a "fresh start" should they fail to upset the odds and secure a place in the FIFA World Cup™ play-offs.

Defeat to Group 1 leaders Denmark on Saturday means the Swedes - twice FIFA World Cup semi-finalists and runners-up in 1958 - must now beat Albania in Solna and hope Portugal cannot defeat whipping boys Malta to stand any chance of securing second place.

Lagerback has already held talks with Swedish Football Association president Lars-Ake Lagrell and revealed both he and assistant Roland Andersson would not be staying on should, as expected, the team fail to reach South Africa.

"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."

We have decided to quit. I think it's better for the national team to have a fresh start.

Sweden coach Lars Lagerback

This campaign will also see striker Henrik Larsson call time on his career, at the age of 38. "It's probably over now," said Larsson, who had initially retired in 2002, but returned to international action two years later.

"I feel that there will be no World Cup for me, even if we do qualify. I'm 38 years old now and I no longer have the motivation to play for Sweden after the match against Albania.

"It's time to make way for other attackers. It isn't a very tough decision for me. I will start focussing on a coaching career. I have played for several big teams in the past and played in all kinds of formations, so I have plenty of knowledge of the game."

Even without the injured Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal are expected to make light work of Malta in Guimaraes, the visitors having lost all but one of their eight games so far without scoring a goal. Real Madrid winger Ronaldo had insisted he was fit to start against Hungary, despite spraining his ankle during the UEFA Champions League win over Marseille.

Denmark, meanwhile, can now afford to relax against Hungary, having qualified for their first major finals in six years. Jakob Poulsen, who scored the winning goal against Sweden, said: "We are FC Solidarity. We have used a lot of players but everyone has stuck to the agreements we made and played for each other. Everybody in this team has done a fantastic job."