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Sven-Goran Eriksson        

Nickname "Svennis" in Sweden; Former England Football Manager

Eriksson turned round England's bid for qualification for the 2002 World Cup, with several crucial wins over lesser opposition before his first real test, England's rematch with Germany in Munich on September 1, 2001. He passed it with flying colours - England crushing their long-time rivals 5-1. Despite this England still needed a late equaliser at home to Greece to automatically qualify, and England's initially strong performance in the 2002 World Cup (when in a group stage with Nigeria, Argentina and Sweden) finals culminated in a 2-1 quarter finals loss to Brazil, who subsequently won the tournament.

After the World Cup, Eriksson's England came under more fire after an embarrassing home loss to Australia in a friendly and a draw with Macedonia in a Euro 2004 qualifier. England qualified for Euro 2004 and at the top of their qualification group, but the team's performance was decidedly mixed, and Eriksson was again criticized for England's overly-defensive performances in their first-round loss to France and their quarter-final elimination by hosts Portugal, which England lost on penalties. Eriksson has also been questioned for often making numerous substitutions during friendlies and playing players out of position. His controlled, level-headed approach, in which he seldom loses his cool or exhibits emotional outbursts, also drew speculations as to whether he had enough passion for the game to inspire his players. Despite this, Eriksson still maintains a superb competitive match record.

In February 2005, Eriksson was again criticised, after he played striker Andy Johnson on the right-wing, in a poor-quality friendly against The Netherlands.

Eriksson has also had to weather considerable speculation about his private life, most notably his affairs with the television presenter Ulrika Jonsson[1], and FA secretary Faria Alam [2][3] (in a scandal that led to the resignation of the FA's chief executive, Mark Palios). Despite this, Eriksson has maintained a relationship with long-term partner, Italian property lawyer Nancy Dell'Olio.

On 7 September 2005, Eriksson's England team lost a World Cup qualifying match against Northern Ireland 1-0, the first time that England had lost to that team since 1972. Although it was only Eriksson's first ever defeat in a World Cup or European Championship qualifying match, it brought his position under increased pressure and he was criticised, both by some fans and by BBC commentators, for failing to instill team spirit and tactics into his players. Criticism continued as England scraped a 1-0 victory over Austria in a game which saw David Beckham controversially sent off. Some of this criticism was answered, however, as England put in a much improved performance, despite the absence of David Beckham through suspension and Sol Campbell and Steven Gerrard through injury, in a 2-1 win against Poland.

In 2006, he was recorded saying he would be willing to leave England to manage Aston Villa if England won the World Cup, after being duped into believing that a wealthy Arab would buy the club and wanted him as manager. The wealthy "Arab" was in fact the "Fake Sheikh", an undercover News of the World reporter. Eriksson allegedly claimed that he could buy David Beckham and commented on the club careers of other senior England players such as Michael Owen.

On January 23, the Football Association announced that Eriksson would leave his job after the 2006 FIFA World Cup, and it was thought that the News of the World allegations played a part in this decision. This was later denied by both parties with Eriksson explaining that there was a prior arrangement to terminate his contract immediately after the World Cup. Following a lengthy period of public and media speculation as to his successor the FA later announced that Steve McClaren, Eriksson's assistant, would take over the reins after the World Cup. Eriksson's popularity has been on the wane for two years now; only winning this year's World Cup would see the English public hold him with higher esteem before he departs.

The week before Englands' first game in Germany, England beat Hungary 3-1 and Jamaica 6-0 at home.

England have been drawn in Group B of the World Cup and will play matches against Paraguay, Trinidad & Tobago, and Eriksson's native Sweden. Eriksson's final challenge as England manager will be to progress to the knockout stages and then attempt to win the trophy for the first time since 1966.

England are unbeaten after the group stage of the tournament, with wins against Paraguay and Trinidad and Tobago, followed by a draw against Sweden. The manner of these results have been far from satisfactory, and Eriksson has attracted further negative media attention as a consequence. He is often been criticised for not getting his team to play in a consistently positive way after taking the lead in a match. This happened in the recent games described. He has also been criticised for taking inexperienced 17-year old Theo Walcott to the World Cup. Subsequently, he has been criticised for not using the player even though he is only one of two fit strikers in the squad. This suggests a lack of consistency in his decision making by taking a player to the World Cup and then not using him in spite of injuries. Most people would have taken more strikers, or more experienced, and this descision backfired when Michael Owen was sent home after a cruciate ligament injury. Now, ahead of the England-Ecuador match on Sunday, Sven must make an important desicion, which will affect England's chances in this World Cup.

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