Celtic FC striker Henrik Larsson has announced his international retirement for good, Sweden coaches Tommy Söderberg and Lars Lagerbäck announced as they unveiled their squad for next month's qualifiers.
Third in the group
Marcus Allbäck of Aston Villa FC was named as Larsson's replacement, teaming up with regular striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic of AFC Ajax in the squad for the Group 4 matches against San Marino in Serravalle on 7 June, and Poland in Stockholm four days later. Sweden are third in the group, five points behind leaders Latvia and two behind Poland but with a game in hand on both.
Larsson said after last year's FIFA World Cup that he was quitting the national team but returned to play in the qualifier against Hungary in Budapest last month where two goals from Allbäck gave Sweden a 2-1 win. "Henrik is a person who thinks through his decisions carefully and who sets high playing standards for himself," said Lagerbäck.
'Motivation not enough'
"He tells us that he has reached a point in his life where his motivation to play in the side is not enough any more. He wouldn't even return in a crisis." The 31-year-old 'Henke' has been hugely successful for Celtic, scoring 201 goals in his six seasons at the club, including two in last week's UEFA Cup final defeat by Porto. He played 72 times for Sweden, scoring 24 times.
His Celtic teammate Magnus Hedman has been nominated as one of three goalkeepers for Sweden's qualifiers despite being injured. Lagerbäck said he was in the squad because of his "informal leadership skills".
Gustafsson, Isaksson, Hedman, C Andersson, Edman, Jakobsson, Lucic, Mellberg, Mjällby, M Svensson, Allbäck, A Andersson, Ibrahimovic, Jonson, Källström, Lantz, Ljungberg, Nilsson, Selakovic, A Svensson.
©Reuters 1998-2010. All rights reserved.