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Sweden's Ljungberg in injury scare

© Reuters 2002

TOKYO, May 29 (Reuters) - Sweden's attacking midfielder Fredrik Ljungberg pulled out of training with hip pain on Wednesday, giving his country a major scare ahead of their opening World Cup game against England on June 2. Swedish newspapers said he might miss the England game but a team official speaking from their training camp in Miyazaki, southern Japan, said that was an exaggeration.

"He was doing some attacking play in training and felt a little stretching in his hip and decided to stop," team media officer Gunnar Linder told Reuters.

"He just didn't want to do anything that he shouldn't. The coach said he shouldn't risk anything - that's all there is to it. Most likely he'll be OK."

A run of superb goals by Ljungberg helped Arsenal to the premier league and FA Cup double last season and his partnership with Henrik Larsson is one of the most potent at the World Cup.

Ljungberg said he had felt the pain for a week but had nevertheless wanted to play in Sweden's last friendly against Japan - a 1-1 draw - on Saturday.

He said his substitution in the 74th minute had nothing to do with the sore hip but had been agreed in advance. "It has happened gradually and got worse and worse," Swedish daily Aftonbladet quoted Ljungberg as saying. "It is irritating. We haven't talked very much about what we'll do. It'll be tomorrow when we know more.

"Nothing is broken, it is a question of pain and how you handle pain. But these kind of injuries in the groin area are always diffuse and you don't know for sure," team physician Anders Valentin said.

Linder said there were no other injury worries in the Swedish camp despite knocks picked up by two players in Saturday's game.

Argentina and Nigeria are the two other teams in group F. England have not beaten Sweden since 1968 and lost to them during qualification for Euro 2000 when the Scandinavians topped the group.

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