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Group B: England Qualified as winner of Group 7
England face hooligan risk at Euro 2004
 

Haunted by the fear of hooligan fans, England travel to Portugal knowing they will be the only team at Euro 2004 who risk being sent home after one game.

England topped Group Seven after an unbeaten campaign, taking four points off World Cup semi-finalists Turkey and hinting at times that they were resilient and resourceful enough to be considered among the title contenders.

Yet their exploits were overshadowed by a hooligan element among England's supporters that shows no signs of disappearing and could well bring their stay in Portugal to a premature end.

UEFA have made it clear they will not tolerate any repeat of incidents which marred England's Euro 2000 campaign and a tumultuous qualifying win over Turkey in Sunderland last year.

Exclusion remains their ultimate sanction for a tournament which England have legitimate hopes of winning.

With coach Sven-Goran Eriksson now fully committed, after rebuffing Chelsea's advances in favour of a contract extension to 2008, and a trio of world-class players in skipper David Beckham, striker Michael Owen and midfielder Steven Gerrard, England fans are entitled to dream.

If they can survive their Group B opener with holders France, subsequent games against Switzerland and Croatia should not bar England's path to the second round.

However, to progress further than that will require Owen and Beckham to rediscover their best form after the former's season was hit by injury and the latter's by on and off-field problems adapting to Spanish football with Real Madrid.

England, who made a group stage exit at Euro 2000, will be without World Cup defender Rio Ferdinand after his eight-month ban for missing a dope test, while David James has replaced the retired David Seaman between the posts.

Key to England's chances will be avoiding the kind of distractions which affected their qualifying campaign.

Trouble started with a shooting incident outside England's hotel in Bratislava on the eve of their opening match against Slovakia.

Two England fans were injured while the gunfire roused England players from their sleep. Eriksson remarked: "It was like the Wild West."

There were ugly scenes too at the game as England's black players, notably striker Emile Heskey, suffered racist boos and visiting fans taunted the home supporters.

Trailing 1-0 at halftime and playing in quagmire conditions, England were heading for trouble until a tactical switch for the second half turned the game around.

Eriksson gambled on scrapping a flat midfield four in favour of a diamond shape and was rewarded with a 2-1 win after goals from Beckham and Owen -- and a vital blueprint for the future.

With a first choice of Beckham on the right, Nicky Butt in the holding position, Gerrard on the left and Paul Scholes behind the strikers, England proved unbeatable in qualifying.

The blemish of a 2-2 home draw with Macedonia was erased by 2-0 wins over Liechtenstein and Turkey, the latter in April 2003 lit up by a superb first start by Wayne Rooney.

The teenage forward had already become the youngest player ever to represent England when, aged 17 years 111 days, he came on as a second-half substitute against Australia in a friendly in February the same year. In September 2003 he became the youngest player to score for England, during a 2-1 qualifying win in Macedonia.

However, the win over Turkey in Sunderland was marred by pre-match violence which led to 95 arrests, pitch invasions, racist chants by the home fans and the subsequent record fine of 150,000 Swiss francs ($110,600) by UEFA the following month.

England avoided having to play a 2-1 win over Slovakia behind closed doors at Middlesbrough in June but were warned further trouble would jeopardise their place in the competition.

Unfazed, England reeled off wins over Macedonia (2-1) and Liechtenstein (2-0), leaving them with just a point needed from their final game in Istanbul in October.

Given the history of violent rivalry between the fans, English officials repeated calls made before the previous game in Macedonia for their supporters to stay home.

England players added further spice by threatening to boycott the game in protest at the exclusion of Ferdinand, prior to his ban.

On the day, the atmosphere was more a problem for Turkey than England, who got a 0-0 draw -- after a spectacular Beckham penalty miss.

That set up England for the finals. One positive for them is that having coped so well with the situation in Turkey, they should be able to cope with all the pressures they are likely to face in Portugal.

Apart, perhaps, from any damage caused by their own fans.
- Trevor Huggins

  Star Player

Name David Beckham
Position
Midfielder
Club
Real Madrid
DOB
12.05.1975


Beckham adds Spanish dash to England's Euro bid

David Beckham heads into Euro 2004 with the jury still out on the wisdom of the England captain's highly-publicised move to Real Madrid.
After falling out with Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson, Beckham wanted to measure himself against the best players in the world and signed up to play alongside...   [more]

 

  Star Player

Name Michael Owen
Position
Forward
Club
Liverpool
DOB
14.12.1979


Owen's shoulders bear weight of England hopes

England are counting on striker Michael Owen shaking off one of his worst seasons on record when they take their title hopes to Euro 2004 next month.
Hampered by injury, a loss of form and speculation that Liverpool's indifferent season could trigger his Anfield departure, Owen finished the season with 21 goals...   [more]

 
  The Coach
Eriksson seeks success after England pledge
Sven-Goran Eriksson is hoping to move from the front pages to the back of British papers at Euro 2004 after a run of unwelcome publicity as England coach.
Just as England's qualifying campaign started with one highly-publicised indiscretion, an affair with fellow Swedish celebrity Ulrika Jonsson, the warm-up for Euro 2004 itself was overshadowed by revelations of a flirtation with Chelsea.
Speculation linking Eriksson with Claudio Ranieri's job had grown steadily since last July, when he was photographed outside the home of Chelsea's new billionaire owner Roman Abramovich.
Eriksson's commitment to England was further undermined by his marked reluctance to sign a new contract or at least confirm he would see out his existing deal to the 2006 World Cup finals.
But matters came to a head in March when photographs of a two-hour meeting with Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon were splashed across the front page of a tabloid newspaper.
Forced into a corner, Eriksson pledged his future to the England team he had moulded from no-hopers into 2002 World Cup quarter-finalists and agreed a two-year extension until Euro 2008.
Chelsea's loss is clearly England's gain, as even a cursory glance at Eriksson's impressive record shows.
A World Cup defeat by Brazil remains England's only loss in 19 competitive games since the Swede raised tabloid hackles by becoming the first non-Englishman to be appointed national coach in October 2000.
Yet Eriksson's softly-softly approach was just what the doctor ordered when he took over an ailing squad in early 2001.
England had begun their World Cup qualifying with a 1-0 home defeat by Germany in the last match at Wembley Stadium in October 2000 - prompting the resignation of coach Kevin Keegan.
Four days later, with Howard Wilkinson as caretaker, England drew 0-0 in Finland and were bottom of the group. Self-confidence was low and prospects of qualifying for the 2002 finals were bleak.
After an improved performance, but another 1-0 defeat, in a friendly in Italy under caretaker Peter Taylor in November 2000, Eriksson took effective charge in February 2001 and started by gaining almost universal plaudits with five straight wins.
After a 2-0 friendly setback against the Netherlands in August 2001, Eriksson was lauded as a national saviour following England's 5-1 win in Munich in September 2001, completing their transformation from also-rans to group winners brimming with self-belief.
But the bubble burst against Brazil in the World Cup quarter-finals, when a particularly inept second-half performance cost them a 2-1 defeat.
Since then, Eriksson has been criticised for not being more demonstrative, despite guiding England to the top of their Euro 2004 qualifying group at the expense of World Cup semi-finalists Turkey -- and for that frequent link with Chelsea.
But with Eriksson now an England fixture for another two years at the very least, the Swede should finally be able to focus on matters on the pitch, rather than off it.

 

  The Squad

 England

Players DOB Club Cap Goal
Sven Goran Eriksson C 05.02.1948
1. David James G 01.08.1970 Man City
13. Paul Robinson G 15.10.1979 Tottenham
22. Ian Walker G 31.10.1971 Leicester
2. Gary Neville D 18.02.1975 Man Utd
14. Phil Neville D 21.01.1977 Man Utd
5. John Terry D 07.12.1980 Chelsea
15. Ledley King D Tottenham
16. Jamie Carragher D 28.01.1978 Liverpool
6. Sol Campbell D 18.09.1974 Arsenal
3. Ashley Cole D 20.12.1980 Arsenal
12. Wayne Bridge D 05.08.1980 Chelsea
7. David Beckham M 02.05.1975 Real Madrid
17. Nicky Butt M 21.01.1975 Man Utd
8. Paul Scholes M 16.11.1974 Man Utd
4. Steven Gerrard M 30.05.1980 Liverpool
18. Owen Hargreaves M 20.01.1981 Bayern
11. Frank Lampard M 20.06.1978 Chelsea
19. Joe Cole M 08.11.1981 Chelsea
20. Kieron Dyer F 29.12.1978 Newcastle
10. Michael Owen F 14.12.1979 Liverpool
9. Wayne Rooney F 24.10.1985 Everton
21. Emile Heskey F 11.01.1978 Birmingham
23. Darius Vassell F 13.06.1980 Aston Villa
 

 

 

 

  Profile


Federation The Football Association (1863)

Headquarter 25 Soho Square - Londra W1D 4FA

Website www.thefa.org

President Geoffrey Thompson
Best Performance in Finals
Semi-Finalists in 1996
Recent record in Finals
1980 Round-1
1984 DNQ
1988 Round-1
1992 Round-1
1996 Semi-Final
2000 Round-1 

 

  Road to Portugal

2-1
2-2
2-0
2-0
2-1
2-1
2-0
0-0

v Slovakia
v Macedonia
v Liechenstein
v Turkey
v Slovakia
v Macedonia
v Liechtenstein
v Turkey
A
H
A
H
A
H
A
H

 

  Final Tournament

B v France

   2045 CET 13 June 2004

B v Switzerland

   1800 CET 17 June 2004

B v Croatia

   2045 CET 21 June 2004

 

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