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Sweden's Ljungberg looks forward to England match

Written by: Staff
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BREMEN, Germany, June 7 (Reuters) Freddie Ljungberg allowed himself to look beyond Sweden's first World Cup opponents to admit he was looking forward to their Group B clash against England -- and then perhaps to taking on hosts Germany.

The midfielder, who plays his club football for Arsenal in England, said on Wednesday his team had due respect their first two opponents, Trinidad&Tobago and Paraguay.

But he still ventured a look beyond to predict the England match on June 20 would be special.

''That of course is going to be a major game -- massive in every sense,'' he told journalists at a news conference. England have not beaten Sweden in 11 matches going back to May 22, 1968.

Sweden have won four with seven draws since then.

''It's going to be hugely important,'' the Arsenal player added. ''Of course I had been getting some stick in training (in London) about it. But we haven't lost (to England) in something like 38 years. That's my chance to hit back.'' It is a sign of Ljungberg's standing and his own self-confidence that he dared to look beyond Trinidad&Tobago in public to discuss England and Germany while his coach and team mates declined to consider anything beyond the first match.

''In England they are all very positive about the World Cup,'' he said. ''They think they have a good chance of winning it.'' Ljungberg, whose team played a 1-1 draw against England in 2002 that helped Sweden win a group that also included Nigeria and Argentina, said he looked forward to a possible second round encounter with Germany and his Arsenal team mate Jens Lehmann.

''Of course there were discussions at Arsenal in training about how we could meet (Germany) if we are lucky enough to go through,'' said Ljungberg. ''I will give Mr. Jens Lehmann some stick and hopefully can score on him.'' Ljungberg, who is only 1.76 metres tall, said there was one Trinidad&Tobago player that he could not overlook, defender Dennis Lawrence, who stands 2.01 metres.

''I have noticed him. He's very tall. I'm probably not going to mark him on the corners,'' Ljungberg said with a laugh. ''He's probably very good on set pieces.'' REUTERS PM BST2235

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