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Sven Goran Eriksson

Sven Goran Eriksson
Complete Name: Sven-Goran Eriksson
Nationality: Swedish
Place of Birth: Torsby, Swden
Date of Birth: February 5, 1948
Height: ??? cm
Weight: ?? kg
National Team: Sweden
Current Club: Retired
Position: ???


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Club career history





Sven-Goran Eriksson (born February 5, 1948) is a Swedish football manager. He is currently the manager of the English national football team. He will step down following the conclusion of the FIFA World Cup, 2006. On January 31 Eriksson was awarded the King's Medal (the second highest honour the king can bestow on a Swedish commoner) by Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf for his "valuable contributions - nationally and internationally - to the sport of football."

Born in Torsby, Eriksson had an unremarkable playing career in the lower divisions of Swedish football at KB Karlskoga and Degerfors IF, before being forced to retire prematurely due to a knee injury in 1975. After retirement, Eriksson became first a coach, and then manager of Degerfors, taking the side from the Third Division to the First Division in three years.

His success with Degerfors attracted the attention of much larger clubs, and Eriksson joined IFK Göteborg in 1979. He won the Swedish Cup in his first season, and a "treble" of League, Cup and UEFA Cup (Göteborg beating Hamburger SV 4-0) in 1982.

Eriksson's European success led to him being head-hunted by Portuguese club SL Benfica, and he had a similarly quick impact there, Benfica winning the Portuguese Championship and finishing runners-up in the UEFA Cup. After a second Championship the following year, Eriksson moved on to Italy, becoming boss of AS Roma. He was not as immediately successful at Roma as he had been before, but he still won a Coppa Italia in 1986.

After a trophyless two years at Fiorentina, Eriksson moved back to Benfica for a second stint in 1989, where he led the team to the final of the European Cup (losing to AC Milan 1-0) in 1990, and another League title in 1991. In 1992 Eriksson returned to Italy to try his luck again, with Sampdoria, but he only managed another Coppa Italia in 1994.

Eriksson finally found major success in Italy when he joined Lazio in 1997 (after controversially reneging on a deal to join English club Blackburn Rovers); with Lazio he won the Coppa Italia twice (1998 and 2000), the European Cup Winners' Cup (1999 - the very last tournament), and the Serie A title (the Scudetto) in 2000 — only the second time that the Roman club had won the Italian championship in their history.

Following the resignation of England manager Kevin Keegan after a home loss to Germany in October 2000, the Football Association specifically pursued Eriksson as his replacement. Eriksson agreed to take over after his contract with Lazio ended in summer 2001, although he would resign his post early and join in January of that year. Eriksson was the first foreigner to be appointed coach of the England national team, leading to a mixed reception, ranging from surprise and intrigue to bordering on the xenophobic; the Daily Mail columnist Jeff Powell wrote:

"So, the mother country of football, birthplace of the greatest game, has finally gone from the cradle to the shame. We've sold our birthright down the fjord to a nation of seven million skiers and hammer throwers who spend half their lives in darkness."
Eriksson turned round England's bid for qualification for the 2002 World Cup, with several crucial wins over lesser opposition before his first real test, England's rematch with Germany in Munich on September 1, 2001. He passed it with flying colours - England crushing their long-time rivals 5-1. Despite this England still needed a late equaliser at home to Greece to automatically qualify, and England's initially strong performance in the 2002 World Cup (when in a group stage with Nigeria, Argentina and Sweden) finals culminated in a distinctly flaccid 2-1 loss to Brazil, the eventual winners.

After the World Cup, Eriksson's England came under more fire after an embarrassing home loss to Australia in a friendly and a draw with Macedonia in a Euro 2004 qualifier. England still managed to qualify for Euro 2004, but the team's performance was decidedly mixed, and Eriksson was again criticized for England's overly-defensive performances in their first-round loss to France and their quarter-final elimination by hosts Portugal, which England lost on penalties. Eriksson has also been questioned for often making numerous substitutions during friendlies and playing players out of position. His controlled, level-headed approach, in which he seldom loses his cool or exhibits emotional outbursts, also drew speculations as to whether he lacked the passion for the game enough to inspire his players. Despite this, Eriksson still maintains a superb competitive match record.

In February 2005, Eriksson was again criticised, after he played striker Andy Johnson on the right-wing, in a poor-quality friendly against The Netherlands.

Eriksson has also had to weather considerable speculation about his private life, most notably his alleged affairs with the television presenter Ulrika Jonsson, and FA secretary Faria Alam (in a scandal that led to the resignation of the FA's chief executive, Mark Palios). Despite this, Eriksson committed himself to managing England until 2008.

On 7 September 2005, Eriksson's England team lost a World Cup qualifying match against Northern Ireland 1-0, the first time that England had lost to that team since 1972. Although it was only Eriksson's first ever defeat in a World Cup or European Championships qualifier match, it brought his position under increased pressure and he was criticised, both by some fans and by BBC commentators, for failing to instill team spirit and tactics into his players. Criticism continued as England scraped a 1-0 victory over Austria in a game which saw David Beckham controversially sent off. Some of this criticism was answered, however, as England put in a much improved performance, despite the absence of David Beckham through suspension and Sol Campbell and Steven Gerrard through injury, in a 2-1 win against Poland.

In 2006, he was recorded saying he would be willing to leave England to manage Aston Villa if England won the World Cup, after being duped into believing that a wealthy Arab would buy the club and wanted him as manager. The wealthy "Arab" was in fact the "Fake Sheikh", an undercover News of the World reporter. Eriksson allegedly claimed that he could buy David Beckham and commented on the club careers of other senior England players such as Michael Owen.

On January 23, the Football Association announced that Eriksson would leave his job after the 2006 FIFA World Cup, and it was thought that the News of the World allegations played a part in this decision. This was later denied by both parties with Eriksson explaining that there was a prior arrangement to terminate his contract immediately after the World Cup.

England have been drawn in Group B of the World Cup and will play matches against Sweden, Paraguay, and Trinidad & Tobago. Eriksson's final challenge as England manager will be to progress to the knockout stages and then attempt to win the trophy for the first time since 1966.

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