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Last Updated: Saturday, 1 July 2006, 20:14 GMT 21:14 UK
Final whistle sounds for Eriksson
By Matt Majendie

Sven-Goran Eriksson
Eriksson boasts an impressive England record but no silverware
On 1 July, 2006, England bowed out of the World Cup, thus ending the Sven soap opera that had spanned five-and-a-half tumultuous years.

From unthinkable 5-1 wins over Germany to fake sheikhs and high-profile affairs, the reign of "Svennis", as he is better known in Sweden, has had just about everything... bar silverware.

A surprise appointment in 2001 - the first foreigner to be named England boss - he boasted an impressive pedigree, including an Italian league and cup double, the Uefa Super Cup and the European Cup Winners' Cup with Lazio, as well as the Uefa Cup with IFK Gothenburg and three Portuguese titles with Benfica.

But any early doubters of his credentials were silenced when England booked their place in the 2002 World Cup finals, thanks to the aforementioned German drubbing and a nail-biting 2-2 draw with Greece.

But then Eriksson's love-hate affair with the tabloids began, triggering a fascination with the Swede that still bemuses him to this day.

At a time when they felt he should be solely focused on the World Cup in Korea and Japan, he was exposed as having an affair with TV presenter and fellow Swede Ulrika Jonsson despite being in a relationship with Italian lawyer Nancy dell'Olio.

He managed to save that relationship, and England came through a difficult group that included Nigeria, Argentina and Sweden.

ERIKSSON FACTFILE
Born: 5 Feb 1948
Previous clubs: Degerfors, IFK Gothenburg, Benfica, Roma, Fiorentina, Sampdoria, Lazio
Selected silverware: Serie A league title, Uefa Cup, Cup Winners' Cup, Italian Cup winners, Portuguese league title, Swedish league title,
England career: Played 65, Won 39, Drawn 16, Lost 10
World Cup best: Quarter-final exit (v Brazil - 2002)
European Championship best: Quarter-final (v Portugal - 2004)
Did you know? Sven was forced to retire as a player following a knee injury in 1975
Did you also know? Sven wears stacked shoes to make him look taller

But the early promise was swiftly doused as Eriksson and England fell to Brazil in the quarter-finals.

The Swede was subsequently castigated for lacking the tactical nous to overcome a Brazil side reduced to 10 men following Ronaldinho's sending-off.

And England defender Gareth Southgate later remarked of the coach's half-time team talk: "We were expecting Winston Churchill and instead got Iain Duncan Smith."

The daggers were further sharpened in the media - and among the public - a few months later when he was photographed going into new Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich's house, fuelling rumours he was about to jump ship and become boss of the Blues.

The England boss brushed off the speculation, insisting that any man with ambition would listen to other offers.

The Football Association lapped up the explanation, duly rewarding Eriksson's "loyalty" with a 4m-a-year deal until 2008.

But huge question marks about England's future were raised once more with an embarrassing 3-1 defeat to Australia - overshadowing Wayne Rooney's international debut - and a draw with Moldova in a Euro 2004 qualifying game.

Still, England made it to Portugal for the Euro 2004 finals, only to come unstuck against the host nation at the quarter-final stage... this time in a penalty shoot-out.

Days later, however, the focus was not on Eriksson's tactical performance but on a second affair - this time with FA secretary Faria Alam.

But while FA chief executive Mark Palios, who also had an affair with Alam, eventually resigned from his post, Eriksson was told he had "no case to answer".

The scoreline from England's 2002 World Cup qualifier against Germany, one of Eriksson's career high
Arguably Eriksson's England career high was the win over Germany
Although his love life captured the imagination - it was even turned into a play back in Sweden - he held onto his job.

But some embarrassing results started to ruin Eriksson's previously impressive CV - a 4-1 reverse to Denmark (England's biggest defeat for 26 years) and a 1-0 World Cup qualifying loss to Northern Ireland in the space of a month.

Despite those setbacks, he still managed to book England's spot at the World Cup finals. But then came the final Sven saga.

In January, he was stung by the News of the World's 'fake sheikh' - saying in an interview he could quit his England post after the World Cup to take over at Aston Villa.

It proved the final straw for the FA, who announced Eriksson would be ending his England tenure following the World Cup.

It did not stop him from causing headlines, though.

The usually conservative coach created a furore by opting to take 17-year-old Theo Walcott, previously untried in the Premiership, to Germany ahead of more established strikers like Jermain Defoe.

But the wisdom of that decision was questioned when Michael Owen broke down in the group game against Sweden and was forced to fly home.

Eriksson remained undeterred, insisting his squad were potential World Cup winners. He also became increasingly outspoken during the tournament.

He singled out players for not achieving their best, while defender John Terry revealed the manager's approach had noticeably altered.

"I'm not talking about shouting and screaming really - he's just been a lot more aggressive," said the Chelsea defender.

Despite his new approach, Eriksson was unable to inspire England to win the World Cup.

Another quarter-final loss - once again at the hands of Portugal on penalties - proved to be the final twist in his England soap opera.



SEE ALSO
England beaten on penalties again
01 Jul 06 |  World Cup 2006
Sven's sorry exit
02 Jul 06 |  England
Rooney's dismissal stuns England
01 Jul 06 |  England
Experts slam Sven
01 Jul 06 |  England
Eriksson's England time in photos
24 Jan 06 |  Photo Galleries


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