A strike from Kim Källström in the 38th minute proved to be decisive. A right-footed wallop sent the ball into the net off the underside of the crossbar after some tidy build-up work from new captain Fredrik Ljungberg, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Johan Elmander.
Sweden had already failed to convert several chances in the first half, but the team’s nervousness was no surprise after consistently poor performances in the last few matches.
Latvia picked up the pace in the second half and had a number of efforts on Rami Shaaban’s goal, including a couple in the closing minutes of the game.
On Wednesday Sweden face Liechtenstein, in what should be another confidence-boosting match at Gotheburg’s Ullevi stadium.