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Monday, December 26, 2005

The Grey phase

Fears over making it to Germany loomed large ..

Sven-Goran Eriksson said he feared England would fail to qualify for the World Cup following their humiliating defeat to Denmark.
England lost 4-1 in the friendly in Copenhagen in August and the manager admits he was worried the team might not make the trip to Germany if they did not improve.
Eriksson told Sky Sports News: "We had too many players out of form and I stuck with them anyhow - right or wrong I don't know.
"We were worried as well that going on playing like this we would not qualify for the World Cup."
However, Eriksson felt some valuable lessons were learned during the difficult days of the campaign, which included defeat by Northern Ireland.
"We learned that if we don't stick together, if we don't show up as a unit, a team, we are not that good," added Eriksson.
England eventually topped their group - despite the 1-0 defeat in Belfast - and travel to Germany as one of the favourites for the tournament and Eriksson believes he is "very lucky" to be the team's manager.
The 57-year-old will lead England at their third major tournament since his appointment in October 2000 after reaching the quarter-finals at both the 2002 World Cup and Euro 2004 - before being knocked out by Brazil and Portugal respectively
Eriksson told the Football Association's official website, "I know I am very lucky with the job I have. I have been extremely lucky in my life.
"When I was a young guy, football was my hobby. I tried very hard to be a professional without any success at all.
"But today, what was once a hobby is now my work. So, when I wake up in the morning I never complain about the job I have."
The Swede claims England have a strong team spirit which is based on mutual respect that pervades the entire international set-up.
"Whoever you are dealing with, whether it be a player, a kit man, an administrator, a masseur or a doctor, you must treat people in the same way.
"You don't treat people according to their salary, you treat people because they are people and you want to have a good atmosphere.
"The team spirit is excellent, it couldn't be better. The key is that everyone has to agree that respect for each other is important.
"That goes for everyone, whether it be between me and the players, the players themselves or between the players and the staff.
"`But we have a very good group of players. They are very good young men."

Sources -


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