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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 September, 2004, 21:09 GMT 22:09 UK
Eriksson delight for Defoe
Sven-Goran Eriksson
England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson paid a glowing tribute to Jermain Defoe after Tottenham's striker scored in the 2-1 World Cup win in Poland.

Defoe pipped Alan Smith to a starting spot and Eriksson said: "Jermain is a great talent. It couldn't have been much better for him. He did very well.

"He scored one goal and created other chances as well. He is a great player who will always score goals.

"We played very well and deserved to win. We fought for the whole game."

England's players refused to speak to the media after stinging criticism following their dismal draw in Austria - a move supported by Eriksson.

Goalkeeper David James, dropped and replaced by Paul Robinson, came under fire - along with captain David Beckham.

We deserved to win but we also deserved to win in Austria
England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson

Eriksson added: "I can understand it. There should be a limit to the criticism of individual players.

"They don't agree with it and are trying to defend the group.

"We deserved to win but we also deserved to win in Austria.

"We battled here but we were a little bit sloppy and not aggressive enough for some of the time in Austria and you can't afford to do that at international level.

"I'm sorry to say the media over-reacted after we drew in Austria. People were saying the World Cup dream was over after one game and one draw. It is very difficult to understand."


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Interview: England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson


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