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Eriksson gives hope to Powell

Published: Friday 28 January 2005, 12.00CET
England coach Sven-Göran Eriksson speaks to about WOMEN'S EURO 2005 and its legacy.
Published: Friday 28 January 2005, 12.00CET

Eriksson gives hope to Powell

England coach Sven-Göran Eriksson speaks to about WOMEN'S EURO 2005 and its legacy.
By Kevin Ashby

Having coached England to the quarter-finals of both the 2002 FIFA World Cup and UEFA EURO 2004™, Sven-Göran Eriksson is well-placed to pass on advice to his England women's team counterpart Hope Powell as she prepares her side to take on Europe's finest on home soil in this summer's UEFA European Women's Championship.

Illustrious lineup
Eriksson was part of an illustrious lineup who attended the draw for the eight-team final tournament at the same City of Manchester stadium where England defeated Iceland 6-1 on 5 June 2004 prior to their trip to Portugal. A year to the day later, Powell will hope for a similar outcome when the hosts get their WOMEN'S EURO 2005 campaign under way against Finland ahead of matches against Denmark and second-favourites Sweden.

Blackburn final
Two teams will advance from the pool, with the winners meeting the runners-up from Group B - featuring Germany, Norway, France and Italy - and vice-versa, with the semi-finals to be played in Preston and Warrington. Ewood Park, Blackburn has the honour of staging the final on Sunday 19 June and whether England progress remains to be seen.

Preparation the key
One thing is certain according to Eriksson, however: that preparation for Powell and co is the key to a successful tournament. spoke to the Swede about the tournament and the legacy it will leave. There is a strong Scandinavian flavour to England's group. What did you make of the draw?

Sven-Göran Eriksson: First of all congratulations to the Nordic countries, four of them qualifying is incredible. Women's football has been strong in Sweden and Norway particularly for a number of years so it's not really a surprise that they're involved. I spoke with England manager Hope Powell about the draw and she was rather happy so I hope that they go through. You don't know today, maybe Germany are the favourites, but all the teams are of a similar standard. The English men's team haven't beaten Sweden for something like 30 years so we have to see if the women can do it. Who knows? How important do you think that the staging of this competition will be for the future of women's football in England?

Eriksson: Very important. At the moment there are 1.2 million female players in this country but I'm sure after the tournament that this figure will rise a lot because EURO will create a huge interest in women's football, especially in this part of the country where football is extremely important. England's first game is at the City of Manchester stadium which has been a lucky ground for you. What are your experiences of this venue?

Eriksson: It's a fantastic stadium which can hold around 50,000 supporters. It's also very modern and beautiful for football. You have been involved in a EURO and World Cup as coach of England's men's team. What advice can you give to your counterpart Hope Powell?

Eriksson: I think he most important thing is preparation, that you have fit players who are not tired. I have always said that and the experience I have is that that's vital. Imagine the scenario that England are playing Sweden in the final. What would the perfect result be for you?

Eriksson: I would say 1-1 but as it's a final someone has to win. I'd have to say I don't know!

Last updated: 31/01/12 9.06CET

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