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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 June, 2004, 15:26 GMT 16:26 UK
Eriksson full of confidence
England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson
Quarter-final one, Luz, Lisbon
Thursday, 24 June, 1945 BST

Live on BBC1 from 1930 BST
Live on Five Live and this website
Sven-Goran Eriksson says England deserve to be among the favourites to win Euro 2004 because of the way they have played in the tournament.

He admitted hosts Portugal will start as slight favourites for Thursday's quarter-final, but does not think home advantage will be too significant.

"I've always said if we play the way we can play, we're not easy to beat," Eriksson said on Wednesday.

"It will be like being at home for us as we will have so many fans there."

Eriksson said he was happy with the way England had played so far, but was aware of what they needed to improve for their game with the tournament hosts.

"We played very good football against France and Croatia.

"I'm really happy with what we've done so far in the tournament, the only thing we need to do is improve defending," he said.

"We only conceded goals from set-pieces, so we will try to do it better."

While Thursday's game was his priority at the moment, Eriksson said the age and depth of the current squad boded well for the next World Cup in 2006.

England are well-organised opponents. They will be very strong
Luiz Feilpe Scolari
Portugal coach

"If you see two years ahead, it could be more or less the same squad - hopefully another Wayne Rooney will come out, but I think 90% of the squad will be the same in the next World Cup - provided we qualify," he said.

England captain David Beckham agreed with Eriksson that set-pieces had been their downfall so far, but said he was confident this could be redressed.

"It's not a big concern, but it's something we've got to work on as we can't afford to concede any more," he said.

"We've got the height to deal with it, so hopefully we'll put that right because Portugal can put together good set pieces."

I'm happy with my performances but I'm a strong enough man to take the criticism
David Beckham on media assessment of his showing at Euro 2004

Beckham also said he was not unduly worried by criticism of his current form, saying the overall performance of the team was more important.

"I'm happy with my performances but I'm a strong enough man to take the criticism," he said.

"If they carry on, that's fine, as long as we carry on winning."

Beckham's midfield partner Steven Gerrard said confidence in the England camp was high, and victory over Portugal would lift their spirits even more.

"Portugal will be very difficult opponents, but we feel if we can get the right result, it'll be a springboard to the final," he said.

"There's a feeling that this year, it could be ours."

Links to more England stories


Interview: Sven-Goran Eriksson

Interview: Steven Gerrard

Interview: David Beckham

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