Sweden miss out on South Africa

STOCKHOLM - Sweden thrashed Albania 4-1 on Wednesday but missed out on a 2010 World Cup play-off place as Portugal beat Malta 4-0 to finish second in Group One.

Defender Olof Mellberg netted twice in the first half for the Swedes, who have qualified for the last five international championships but had to settle for third place in the group.

Former captain Mellberg fired past keeper Samir Ujkani following a corner by Kim Kallstrom after six minutes.

Substitute Marcus Berg took advantage of some sloppy Albanian defending to make it 2-0 and Berg then set up Mellberg to score again from close range just before halftime.

Hamdi Salihi grabbed one back for the visitors with a header in the 57th minute before midfielder Anders Svensson scored Sweden's fourth goal with a superb solo effort two minutes from time.

Denmark topped the group on 21 points with Portugal on 19, one point ahead of Sweden.