FRANKFURT, June 21: Sweden feel they have a realistic chance of knocking out the hosts in the second round of the World Cup, even though they have not beaten Germany since 1978.
The Swedes finished second in Group B behind England after a 2-2 draw between the two in Cologne yesterday and were in high spirits having come back twice from a goal down to equalise.
''If we play like we did in the second half we have a chance,'' said Sweden midfielder Kim Kallstrom, referring to his side's knockout phase encounter with Germany in Munich on Saturday.
Germany won Group A after three straight wins.
Including matches against West Germany between 1958 and 1990, Sweden have played Germany 32 times since 1911. They have won 13 and lost 12 matches but their last victory dates from 1978.
''We shall spoil your party,'' read a headline in the Swedish daily Aftonbladet today.
''Look out, we never give up,'' wrote Aftonbladet soccer columnist Simon Bank.
Sweden coach Lars Lagerback was full of praise for his team's unyielding attitude until the very end against both England and Paraguay.
Arsenal midfielder scored Sweden's crucial 1-0 winner against Paraguay in the 89th minute and Barcelona striker Henrik Larsson levelled the score against England in the 90th minute.
''Our players have showed what character they have,'' Lagerback told a news conference.
''The morale of this team never ceases to amaze me,'' said Sweden defensive midfielder Tobias Linderoth, whose corner found striker Marcus Allback for Sweden's 1-1 equaliser.
Lagerback said Germany had played ''very well'' so far.
''They have a very solid defence and their attacking is not so bad either,'' he said, pointing out, however, that the hosts had also displayed some defensive vulnerability by conceding two goals in their opening match against Costa Rica.
Lagerback held out hope that Juventus striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic would recover from his groin injury in time for Saturday's clash in Munich and voiced relief that Sweden have no players suspended.
Brimming with confidence, Mattias Jonson, a striker who played in midfield against England, predicted ''a massive win'' for Sweden on June 24.
''It will be a fantastic match. It will be absolutely great when we knock out the Germans,'' he said.