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Last Updated: Sunday, 13 June, 2004, 11:32 GMT 12:32 UK
Eriksson remains upbeat

David Beckham (left) and Gary Neville are dejected at the final whistle
Coach Sven-Goran Eriksson is confident England can still get through their group stage despite their last-gasp 2-1 defeat against France.

"We have to win two games against Switzerland and Croatia and I think we can do that," he told BBC Five Live.

"We played extremely well against the world's best football team (France)," he said. "Now it's up with the heads.

"Let's hope we can play France on 4 July (in the final). We can't always have bad luck."

The England coach added: "We thought we had the game won and we should have won it.

"You can never control France because they have so many attacking options, but in the 90 minutes they did not have many goalscoring chances.

"We must be proud, it's tough to lose - we did not deserve to lose."

Eriksson paid tribute to his two least experienced players - defender Ledley King and striker Wayne Rooney who both impressed.

We had not had a good match and then came a little bit of a surprise
Zinedine Zidane
"Ledley King was absolutely fantastic, not nervous at all," said Eriksson.

"He couldn't have done better. Wayne Rooney tired but he had a good run to win the penalty and he always looked dangerous.

"If we had lost 3-0 and not created a chance it would be different. The players are professional. They know they did an excellent job tonight. They did everything we asked of them and hopefully it will not be too difficult to lift them up."

Eriksson also absolved himself of any blame after the defeat, saying: "If we played this game again I wouldn't change the tactics at all.

"Except that in the last three minutes we would have put the ball in the stand."

Captain David Beckham was left to rue his missed second-half penalty, which was saved by French goalkeeper Fabien Barthez.

"I couldn't have struck it any better," said Beckham. "If we'd have gone 2-0 up, it would have finished the game off.

"We didn't deserve that (to lose) but that's football."

But he added: "We can take a lot from the game. It's important we pick ourselves up and get up for the next match."

Goalkeeper David James admitted he had been deceived by Zidane's free-kick and was caught in two minds when conceding the penalty.

"Zidane's done me. I took half a step to the left, lost the ball and it was whipped in with a bit of pace. That's something I've to address for next time," he said.

"For the penalty, I was stuck in a bad situation because it was a back pass. If I stand off, Henry's got a free shot but if I catch it, it's a free kick.

"I tried to do neither and unfortunately the penalty was given."

James was caught out by Gerrard's wayward back pass, but the Liverpool captain promised to make amends.

"I'm a little bit down about my mistake but I'll bounce back," said Gerrard.

"But if you're going to make a mistake, you should at least make it early so you've got time to make up for it."

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