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Sunday, 2 June, 2002, 18:37 GMT 19:37 UK
Mills shoulders blame
England's Danny Mills (left) is pushed aside by Sweden's Andreas Andersson
Mills took responsibility for Sweden's equaliser

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England's Danny Mills is taking the blame for the Sweden goal that leaves coach Sven-Goran Eriksson's side facing a battle to make World Cup progress.

Leeds United defender Mills stepped forward to take responsibility for Niclas Alexandersson's equaliser in the 1-1 draw in Saitama.

Mills was involved in a penalty box mix-up and then cleared to Everton winger Alexandersson, who levelled the scores after Sol Campbell had given England a first-half lead.

GRAPHIC ANALYSIS
He said: "I have to accept my part in that without doubt - it just goes to show you can't afford to make any mistakes at international level or you will be punished.

"I just chested it down and it got away from me, and then when I cleared it, it went straight to another player who scored.

"But I just have to accept that this game's gone now and there is nothing I can do about it.

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We haven't lost and the chance is still there for us to qualify
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Kieron Dyer

"I think we showed in the first half how well we can play, so we must just go out against Argentina - whoever is playing - and do that again.

"We started well and then we sat back too much and let them come into it.

"You also have to give Sweden credit because they started to put a lot of long balls in to two good front players.

"They will definitely cause other teams problems, but we are disappointed with a draw."

Newcastle's Kieron Dyer made a 28-minute appearance as a substitute for David Beckham and may have put himself in contention for a starting place against Argentina.

And Dyer insisted England still had high hopes of qualifying for the last 16 - despite the disappointing draw against Sweden.

Sweden's Niclas Alexandersson celebrates scoring with Anders Svensson
Alexandersson scored for Sweden

He said: "It was nice to get a run out, because three weeks ago I didn't think I would be here.

"But we can take heart from how we played in the first half and take that into our next game.

"We haven't lost and the chance is still there for us to qualify."

England striker Michael Owen said: "We would have liked to have started with a win, but it was also important not to get beat.

"It sets us up for the next game against Argentina, which was always going to be a big one anyway.

"Sweden were a tough team to break down and I didn't get many chances - hopefully they will come my way against Argentina."


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 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Sport's Mike Ingham
"This was a contest Sweden should've won"
England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson
"We couldn't stand Sweden's pressure"
Goalscorer Sol Campbell
"We have to stay confident"
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GROUP F
  P GD PTS
SWEDEN 3 +1 5
ENGLAND 3 +1 5
ARGENTINA 3 0 4
NIGERIA 3 -2 1




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