05 June 2006
England in the World Cup
Sven-Goran Eriksson has assured the England supporters of his determination to provide a glorious finale to his five-and-a-half-year stint as national coach by winning the FIFA World Cup™.
The Swede received an ovation from the crowd after his team hammered Jamaica 6-0 at Old Trafford on Saturday, and Eriksson admitted he is determined to succeed for these same fans.
"I am desperate to win the trophy for you," Eriksson said via the English press. "The support you have given me since my first game in the job has been very special.
"You have made me feel English. I am proud to wear the Three Lions.
"Lying ahead of us is the biggest challenge in football.
"I am so determined to achieve something special and I see no reason at all why we can't.
"When you know that over the next few weeks everybody will be watching the England team, you realise more than ever what a privilege it is to have this post.
"To have the entire nation behind you is an amazing feeling and you should not underestimate how special that makes England in football.
"I have lived and managed in different countries in Europe, but the love you have here for the game and for England takes my breath away."
England head for Germany with six wins and 17 goals from the last six games.
The next time Eriksson sends a team out, it will be against Paraguay in Frankfurt on Saturday in their tournament opener.
He seems to have settled on his team for the first game as long as defensive trio John Terry, Ashley Cole and Gary Neville overcome their injury scares.
Cole needed a scan on a thigh muscle after the Jamaica game, but it showed no damage and he should be ready in time to play.
Jermain Defoe, meanwhile, will fly to Germany with the squad as cover for Wayne Rooney, but the rest of the stand-by players have been released.
England are likely to take on Paraguay with a 4-4-2 system with Peter Crouch partnering Michael Owen up front.
Crouch claimed a hat-trick against Jamaica, although his first was helped over the line by defender Omar Daley.
The trio took his international tally to five in eight games and Owen also found the net for the first time since he broke his foot in December.