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Monday, 17 June, 2002, 13:47 GMT 14:47 UK
Eriksson relishes Brazil tie
Eriksson said Brazil are deserved favourites
Eriksson watched as Brazil defeated Belgium
BBC Sport Online's chief football writer Phil McNulty, in Japan

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England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson has admitted Brazil are World Cup favourites as the countries prepare to meet in Friday's quarter-final.

Brazil clinched a meeting with England in the last eight by beating Belgium 2-0 in Kobe.

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I can't see any reason why we shouldn't try to reach the semi-finals
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Sven-Goran Eriksson
Eriksson also hailed the South Americans as the game's most naturally gifted artists.

But he still has high hopes of guiding England one more step towards history.

"They are the favourites to win the World Cup, especially when you consider how they have played," said Eriksson.

"They play good attacking football and it is always excellent to see.

"Brazil is samba football. It is always beautiful to watch.

"They all seem to have been born with a football close to their feet. They are very good throughout the team and very interesting to watch."

But Eriksson's admiration for Brazil does not hide his confidence and determination heading into the teams' first World Cup meeting since 1970 in Guadalajara, when Jairzinho's single goal settled an epic encounter.

He insisted: "I can't see any reason why we shouldn't try to reach the semi-finals.

Rivaldo and Ronaldo scored against Belgium
Rivaldo scored as Brazil defeated Belgium 2-0

"It should be very nice, but we never talk about winning the World Cup, only our next match.

"We have only ever talked about the next match in this World Cup, and it has brought us luck so far.

"We have done a very professional job so far. We have played good football sometimes and we have also defended very well.

"This is one of the facts of the World Cup - you can't play good football all the time and our defence has been very good.

"Emile Heskey and Michael Owen have now scored, and both of our centre-backs have scored which is good.

"Some of our players are getting better and better with every game and our defence is certainly getting better and better.

"Our first target was to get through the first three games, then to get to the quarter-final - now we must try and reach the semi-final and the team is in good shape.

"We did our job, and did it well, against Denmark. Now we must do it again.

"Brazil have very good defenders, in people like Cafu and Roberto Carlos, who are more or less attackers.

"In the game against Costa Rica they wanted to score lots of goals and they did."


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 ON THIS STORY
England skipper David Beckham
"You always want to play the best"
England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson
"Brazil are always beautiful to watch"
England defender Rio Ferdinand
"It's a great experience"
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