The Swedes only managed one goal during a sluggish first half, relying on a nifty finish from Kim Källström in the 22nd minute
The midfielder used his head to score off the rebound from a Rasmus Elm strike that had careened off the crossbar.
Despite the goal, the fans in Gothenburg’s Ullevi stadium were unimpressed with Sweden’s efforts and showed their displeasure with the mediocre performance by booing the team as it headed off the field.
But Sweden emerged for the final 45 minutes with fire in their feet, exploding for three goals in less than 10 minutes.
Defender Daniel Majstorovic put Sweden up 2-0 by heading in a corner from Källström in the 52nd minute.
Three minutes later star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who hadn’t scored a goal with the national side since June 2008, took a feed from Rasmus Elm and chipped the ball over Malta’s keeper.
Ibrahimovic then slotted a slick pass to teammate Marcus Berg who then sent the ball to the back of the net in the 58th minute.
The victory brings Sweden’s point total in Group One to nine, level with third-place Portugal and seven points behind group leaders Denmark.
But now only four points separate the squad from second-placed Hungary and a possible play-off place.