Sven-Goran Eriksson: Gareth Southgate judged on Euro 2020 results, not World Cup

·3 min read

Sven-Goran Eriksson has told England boss Gareth Southgate that he will only be judged on results at Euro 2020 and not the fact he guided the Three Lions to a World Cup semi-final in Russia.

Southgate led England to a surprise last-four meeting with Croatia three years ago, losing in extra-time in Moscow.

He is now attempting to mastermind European Championship success and became the first England manager to win his opening game in the history of the tournament, achieving a modicum of revenge by beating Croatia 1-0 on Sunday.

Eriksson managed England at Euro 2004, as well as the 2002 and 2006 World Cups and included Southgate in his squad for the 2002 tournament in Japan and South Korea.

Eriksson took England to two quarter-finals before leaving the role in 2006.
Eriksson took England to two quarter-finals before leaving the role in 2006 (Owen Humphreys/PA)

The 73-year-old has been impressed with Southgate’s work so far but warned him that previous results will count for very little.

“The last World Cup, reaching the semi-final was great,” he told the PA news agency.

“So far Gareth has done a great job with England but as a coach you’re always judged what you did today, what you will do tomorrow.

“What you did two or three years ago doesn’t count any more – that is the life of a coach but I am very confident that England and Southgate will have a good tournament and the fans in England will be proud of their team.

“I think they can go the whole way. It is four or five teams who can win it and England, for sure, is one of them.”

Next up for England in Group D is a meeting with rivals Scotland – who will be smarting after losing their opener to the Czech Republic at Hampden Park.

Southgate (right) was a member of Eriksson's England squad at the 2002 World Cup.
Southgate, right, was a member of Eriksson’s England squad at the 2002 World Cup (Rui Vieira/PA)

Marcus Rashford likened the fixture to a Premier League derby and Eriksson echoed those comments – but ultimately believes England should prove far too strong for their neighbours.

“Scotland shouldn’t have a chance against England, England are so much better as a team,” he said.

“It is like a derby, Scotland v England, it is one of those games where it normally doesn’t count who has the better team.

“There are so many emotions around it and Scotland will be extremely aggressive, run more than they ever have done in their lives to try and disrupt England.

Southgate's England opened their Euro 2020 campaign with victory over Croatia.
Southgate’s England opened their Euro 2020 campaign with victory over Croatia (Nick Potts/PA)

“But they should not be able to take three or even one point because England as a team are much, much better so I can’t see Scotland doing anything.”

Eriksson will once again take the reins as England boss when he manages a number of his former players – including Wayne Rooney and Gary Neville – at Soccer Aid for UNICEF on September 4.

However, he insists he will not be looking to return to the dugout full-time unless the right project attracts him.

“I am not sleepless because I am not sitting on the bench,” he added.

Eriksson's most recent job in England saw him manage Leicester between 2010 and 2011.
Eriksson’s most recent job in England saw him manage Leicester between 2010 and 2011 (Martin Rickett/PA)

“I am fine, if something good comes up I will take it, the last job I had was with the Philippines and that was not a good experience, so I will select things. At my age, I don’t need something just to work.

“Soccer Aid will be a great time again and with England, fantastic! The most important thing is that it is for a good thing and we raise money for children – but secondly, to meet all these old players I had many, many years ago, that is great.”

:: Soccer Aid for UNICEF 2021 takes place on Saturday 4th September at the Etihad Stadium. The money raised from this year’s game will help UNICEF fight back against the Covid-19 pandemic by helping to deliver 2 billion vaccines worldwide. Tickets are available at: www.socceraid.org.uk/tickets

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