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Thursday, 13 February, 2003, 18:34 GMT
Eriksson upbeat despite loss
England players look dejected at half-time in their defeat against Australia
England trudged off at half-time 2-0 down
England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson said Wednesday's shock 3-1 defeat to Australia will not effect his team's European Championship prospects .

The Swede fielded a different team in each half of the friendly at Upton Park.

And although his first-half senior team in particular failed to sparkle, Eriksson remained upbeat ahead of England's Euro 2004 qualifiers against Liechtenstein and Turkey.

Every time Rooney gets the ball, you feel something can happen

Sven-Goran Eriksson

"It does not concern me that much. I don't think it will affect morale at all," he said after the disappointing loss.

"I think the result was bad, but the performance was not as bad as the result showed."

"I think the boys did very well in the second half. You could see there was a lot of talent out there. I'm was very happy to see that.

"Some of the youngsters are almost ready for bigger tasks."

Eriksson singled out 17-year-old striker Wayne Rooney, saying: "I think he did very well.

"His first touch is very good. Every time he gets the ball, you get the feeling something can happen."

Eriksson insisted he was not too disappointed about the first-half display, despite the fact that England's "first team" went in at the break 2-0 down.

"I don't think we played that badly," he said.

Nobody likes to lose a football game

Sven-Goran Eriksson

"There was a little bit of a lack of concentration in both of Australia's first half goals.

"For the first, a free kick came in and we lost the marking and the second was a classic counter-attack - we lost the ball in midfield and the organisation was not good."

But Eriksson was adamant that his team's confidence would remain undamaged, despite a poor sequence of home results that also included a draw with Macedonia.

England resume their Euro 2004 campaign when they travel to Liechtenstein on 29 March and then host Group Seven leaders Turkey on 2 April.

"Nobody likes to lose a football game," said Eriksson.

"But let's see what's happening in one and a half month's time. I'm sure that we can do very well against Liechtenstein and Turkey."

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BBC Five Live's Alan Green
"Absolutely abysmal"
England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson
"I didn't think we played too badly"
England v Australia latest

England 1-3 Australia

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