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Last Updated: Friday, 9 December 2005, 21:35 GMT
Eriksson relief at World Cup draw
Sven-Goran Eriksson was content with England's draw
England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson expressed his relief after his team were drawn against Sweden, Paraguay and Trinidad & Tobago in World Cup Group B.

"I think that it is not an easy group but it could have been worse," said Eriksson. "They are difficult games of course but I am happy.

"I said before the draw that if we could avoid Australia and Holland then we would be happy.

"On paper we are favourites to win the group but you never know."

Eriksson said he was looking forward to playing against the land of his birth at the World Cup.

England have not defeated Sweden for 37 years but the England coach added: "Sooner or later we have to beat them.

"It seems to be our destiny to play against them.

"They are well organised and have two good strikers in Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrik Larsson.

"I do not know much about Trinidad & Tobago but they have many players based in England. I'm sure they will want to beat us but who doesn't?

Watching the World Cup draw has already excited me
England skipper David Beckham

"We played against Paraguay in a friendly a few years ago."

Eriksson said he was not concerned by the prospect of playing host nation Germany at the second round stage.

Eriksson's team will play a side from Germany's group - which also includes Poland, Costa Rica and Ecuador - if they qualify.

"I think that Germany will win their group," said Eriksson.

"It is better to play Poland than Germany in a knockout match but we will try to win the group and that is it."

England skipper David Beckham said watching the World Cup draw had whetted his appetite for the tournament.

Sweden coach Lars Lagerback (left) with England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson
I'd have been more pleased with the draw if we could have avoided England
Sweden coach Lars Lagerback

"Watching the draw has already excited me as I think about the tournament ahead," Beckham told the Football Association website.

"We meet a familiar opponent in Sweden - one that both the players and manager know well.

"To use an old cliche there are no easy games. We have to go out and prove we are one of the favourites."

Sweden coach Lars Lagerback said that he was not surprised that his team had again been drawn against England.

The two teams drew 1-1 at the last World Cup in Japan in 2002 and Lagerback said: "I'm starting to think we have some kind of love affair with England.

"I must say that I'd have been more pleased with the draw if we could have avoided England.

"It is a better draw than Brazil and Argentina but it will be a hard game for us."

Trinidad & Tobago goalkeeper Shaka Hislop was delighted after his team were drawn against England.

"I am buzzing," said Hislop, who has played in England for 13 years. "I've spoken to all the players based over here and we are looking forward to it."

Port Vale midfielder Chris Birchall said: "Everyone has been telling me that we were destined to get England.

"It's six months since I made my debut and everyone has been so excited just to get there. It's a dream come true.

"I think it is one of the most exciting groups.

"There will be a lot of pressure on England and Sweden but we can go out and enjoy it.

"It's a great group and I cannot wait to go into it."

Paraguay defender Jorge Nunez said his team can qualify for the World Cup second phase.

"We are very happy. We hope to do good work in Group B and qualify for the next phase," said Nunez.

"We will play with high quality national teams, although quality is demonstrated in the field.

"We hope all South American teams will do good work in next World Cup."




WATCH AND LISTEN
Interview: England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson


Interview: Trinidad & Tobago's Shaka Hislop


Interview: Australia manager Guus Hiddink


Interview: Holland coach Marco van Basten




SEE ALSO
World Cup groups set to be drawn
09 Dec 05 |  World Cup 2006
Permutations for England's World Cup draw
09 Dec 05 |  World Cup 2006
England seeded for 2006 World Cup
06 Dec 05 |  World Cup 2006
England's road to Germany 2006
08 Oct 05 |  Photo Galleries
England qualify for the World Cup
08 Oct 05 |  Internationals


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