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Wednesday, 12 June, 2002, 08:36 GMT 09:36 UK
Eriksson's first mission accomplished
Sven-Goran Eriksson shows little emotion on the bench
Eriksson (right) is his usual cool self

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England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson was able to stamp 'mission accomplished' on the first chapter of England's World Cup campaign as they qualified from Group F.

England's goalless draw with Nigeria saw them finish group runners-up behind Sweden, whose 1-1 draw with Argentina sent the South Americans home.

Eriksson said after England clinched the all-important point which sealed qualification: "That was our first target, we did it."

Open Quote
There is a special bond among this squad and the coaches and it gives us the extra confidence we need to carry on
Close Quote
David Beckham

England now face Denmark on Saturday and Eriksson said: "We had more chances today but we couldn't score - perhaps we will save it for Saturday."

Eriksson expressed no preference for England's opponents in the first of the knock-out stages.

He said: "It doesn't matter who we play.

"African teams can keep the ball and make you run, run, run.

"They are two good teams and the fact is we have to try and beat Denmark.

"It was very hot and very difficult. We knew Nigeria wanted to try and win the game and I think they played very well," he added.

David Beckham admits the road to glory has opened up for England after France and Argentina made early exits.

England captain David Beckham takes a drink during the 0-0 draw against Nigeria
Beckham found the heat and humidity a problem

Captain Beckham said he had never experienced heat and humidity such as England had to endure in Osaka.

And he expressed his relief that the game against the Danes in Niigata will be played in the evening.

"Two of the biggest teams in the world have gone out in France and Argentina, so that certainly opens the World Cup up," said Beckham.

"There will be some cynics complaining about the way we played, and that our goals have not come from open play and from a corner and a penalty.

"But I don't think anyone could argue about the way we played against Argentina."

Beckham added: "There was always going to be a comedown after Argentina, but we went out there, did a professional job and we are through.

"Someone asked me if the euphoria in England will have died down because it was only a goalless draw, but I don't see why because we are through a very hard group and have got a big game on Saturday."

Beckham believes the spirit in the England squad can see them through the tough tests ahead.

"There is a special bond among this squad and the coaches, and it gives us the extra confidence we need to carry on," he said.

"We have come through some very hard games, but this is where the pressure comes in the one-off games."


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England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson
"It was very difficult"
Captain David Beckham
"The back four were excellent throughout"
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NIGERIA V ENGLAND
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 ENGLAND
Full coverage:
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 SQUAD PROFILES
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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