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Last Updated: Monday, 21 May 2007, 17:15 GMT 18:15 UK
Eriksson backs England to qualify
Sven-Goran Eriksson
Sven-Goran Eriksson believes England will qualify for Euro 2008 despite the stuttering start to their campaign.

England are fourth in their group and only two sides will make the finals.

Eriksson, sacked as England coach last year, told BBC One's Inside Sport show: "I'm sure they will [qualify], and they will have a good tournament."

Asked if new coach Steve McClaren should be sacked if England do not make it, he said: "They will qualify, so that is not a discussion."

In his first television interview since leaving the England post folllowing last summer's World Cup, Eriksson discussed a wide range of topics, including his future, his sacking, his treatment at the hands of the media, and England's failure in last year's finals in Germany.

I think I was good value for the FA

Sven-Goran Eriksson
He blamed his dismissal by the Football Association on the "fake sheikh" scandal, when he was caught in a tabloid newspaper sting appearing to discuss his future after quitting the England post.

"The real reason I was sacked was because of a newspaper story about Dubai," Eriksson said, "and of course what was written in those stories was not true - or a lot of it. It's very easy for a newspaper if they want to hurt you to do it.

"The FA knew why I went to Dubai and I didn't go there to listen for a new job. I went to listen about football in Dubai. They tried to set me up and they were lucky.

"I was sacked because this time the FA had had enough and they didn't check if it was true or not."

The Swede said he would take the England job again, but added: "I will never be offered it".

Eriksson said he "was in the papers too many times for non-football reasons - and that's bad".

England have a squad of players who can win the World Cup. We didn't do it, but we could have done it

Sven-Goran Eriksson
And he admitted he had spoken to other prospective employers while still England coach, although he said he had never discussed breaking his contract.

And he denied being greedy continuing to take money from the FA after being dismissed.

"I had a contract until 2008. I was sacked. If I had been greedy I would have asked for money until 2008 - it would have been fair. I agreed to have six months fully paid and six months half paid. So I think I was good value for the FA."

Eriksson said his main regret about his time as England coach was not taking a "mental coach" to prepare the players for a penalty shoot-out in the World Cup.

England were knocked out of the 2006 tournament by Portugal in that fashion - as they were by the same side in Euro 2004.

"England in this moment, last year and in the future, have a squad of players who can win the World Cup. We didn't do it, and I'm extremely sorry about that, but we could have done it."

He said he hoped he would be back in club football as a coach next season, but refused to say if he was in talks over a new job.

And he said he "could easily work in England - I probably will not do that, but football-wise, I could."

Eriksson's interview with Inside Sport will be shown on BBC One at 2305 BST on Monday 21 May.

INSIDE SPORT ON THE BBC

MONDAY 12 MAY
2330 BST, BBC ONE

SEE ALSO
Eriksson's England era
24 Jan 06 |  Football
FA confirms England coach affair
25 Jul 04 |  UK News
I have English support - Eriksson
29 Apr 07 |  Football
McClaren must ride out storm
28 Mar 07 |  Internationals
Pressure grows for Beckham recall
04 Mar 07 |  Internationals
McClaren warns uninspired England
08 Feb 07 |  Internationals


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