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Wednesday, 10 April, 2002, 13:07 GMT 14:07 UK
Scandinavia's dynamic duo
Soderberg is the man motivator of the duo
Soderberg is the man motivator of the duo

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There will be three Swedish managers in charge of the two teams when England meet Sweden at the World Cup

Sven Goran Eriksson will be hoping England can finally end their 34-year winless record against his home country in Saitama on 2 June.

But he might have a struggle on his hands if compatriots Tommy Soderberg and Lars Lagerback have anything to do with it.

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Running a national team is not a one man show
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Tommy Soderberg
Soderberg was appointed as Sweden's coach in 1998 - after three years working with the Under-21 team - coming in to replace Tommy Svensson.

Lagerback was appointed assistant national coach in the same year and made joint national coach last year.

"Running a national team is not a one-man show," said Soderberg at the time.

But as Sweden's Euro 2000 form testifies, the partnership did not instantly produce results.

Rejuvenated

After Sweden's disappointing Euro 2000 campaign the knives were undeniably out.

Sweden failed to recover from defeat in the tournament's opening game against Belgium and finished bottom of Group B.

Sweden's only point in Euro 2000 came courtesy of a dour goalless draw with Turkey.

And Soderberg's and Lagerback's team were widely derided.

But just 15 months later, Sweden came from behind to beat Turkey 2-1 in Istanbul to secure their passage to next year's World Cup.

Sweden finished their World Cup qualification campaign unbeaten and the critics have all but disappeared.

Lagerback is an astute tactician
Lagerback is an astute tactician
"I have doubted but now I am saved. Hallelujah," wrote Swedish journalist Mats Olsson in his column in the Expressen newspaper.

The duo can have begun their preparations for Korea and Japan safe in the knowledge that they have the support of the media and the fans back home.

Soderberg is widely regarded as the brilliant motivator while Lagerback is a tactical expert.

And after a difficult start, the blend of skills that the two men bring to the job seems to be working.

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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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