Byline: PAUL SMITH
SVEN GORAN ERIKSSON fears his native country could wreck England's chances of World Cup success.
Sven's men face Sweden in their opening Group F clash on June 2.
Eriksson believes his countrymen are so strong that they rank among the tournament favourites and have the ammunition to destroy England.
And the England coach singles out Arsenal's in-form Freddie Ljungberg as the biggest threat to our hopes.
Flame-haired Ljungberg goes into the World Cup in red-hot form and Eriksson (below) warned: "Ljungberg has had a marvellous season - we must watch him carefully.
"He's quick and good on the ball. It's difficult to find another player in the world who can do those dangerous runs of his into the box without the ball.
"They are intelligent runs and he doesn't do them only once in 45 minutes. He has the ability to carry them out about 10 times in a game. And, of course, because of that he carries a great goal threat - he will scare anyone.
"You have to pay attention to his runs or pay the price. Our defenders cannot only look at the attackers like Celtic's Henrik Larsson and Marcus Allback.
"They have to pay attention to him because if the ball is coming from one side, then Ljungberg will almost certainly threaten from the other side.
"Sweden have so much strength but the three players that concern me the most are the defender Patrick Andersson, Larsson and Ljungberg.
"And Sweden are an extremely hard-working side.
"Whenever and wherever they lose the ball they get eight or nine players behind the ball within seconds.
"That makes it very difficult to attack against them. They don't give you time or space.
"Because of their good discipline and hard work they are one of the best teams in the finals.
"They have only lost once in 17 games, so it's easy to understand why we should see them as a threat. But a big question mark is whether they can play at such a high tempo in the temperatures we will face in Japan.''
Eriksson's England drew 1-1 with Sweden in an Old Trafford friendly last year, but this is the first time in a competitve match that the Swede will be forced to put his adopted country before his native one.
Clearly it's a situation that doesn't sit easily with Eriksson, 52, and he has ruled out singing the English national anthem ahead of his own country's.
"I think I should sing both of the national anthems or none of them."
And Eriksson insisted that the loss through injuries of Gary Neville and Steven Gerrard should be an incentive to other players in his squad who will have to take their places.
"Initially the players' reaction to the injuries has been one of surprise and disappointment," said Eriksson.
"We are talking about great players here. But now we are together we will not discuss it.
"We have 23 players out here and they will do a job. I'm confident of that. When one door closes another opens.
"We have a number of options to fill the gaps and I have faith that those players coming in will do as well as those that are missing.
"Those players that come into those positions have a great incentive and I would expect them to grab that opportunity and show the world they can do that job."
As the clock ticks down Eriksson hopes to able to field his first-choice team against …