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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Welcome Back, Svennis

As you all probably know by now, ex-England and Mexico boss Sven Goran Eriksson will be the Ivory Coast manager at World Cup 2010.

I, for one, welcome him back with open arms. I always enjoyed his implacable calm, his over use of 'first half good...second half not so good' and his ability to seduce ladies of all nationalities.

And, seriously, I think he is a good manager. His reputation has been tarnished in England, where some consider him a bit of a joke and blame him for England's failure to get further than the quarter finals of major competitions.

I think this is more than a little unfair on the man.

The main charge against Eriksson is that, in 2002, when England played Brazil, he was too slow in changing tactics once Ronaldinho had been sent off.

And it is true that it took him until the 79th minute to bring on Teddy Sheringham and move to a far more attacking 3 upfront formation.

However, all the match reports clearly indicate that when Ronaldinho was sent off, England did go far more on the offensive. The thing was: most of these attacks broke down and England started to get nervous.

Bringing on Sheringham was, I think, a good attempt both to win the match and to introduce a cool head to bring calm to England. Remember the match lasted a mammoth 96 minutes and Sheringham did nearly pull England level with a drive that hit the crossbar.

To blame Eriksson for England failing to beat the eventual world Champions seems unduly harsh to me.

But, with the Ivory Coast, he really does have a job on his hands. The Ivorians Group contains both Brazil and Portugal as well as North Korea and Eriksson will do well to qualify from that lot.

He only has two friendlies before the World Cup proper and that's not nearly enough time to make a proper impression on the squad.

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posted by mark_s at 11:54 AM


Blogger markbuoy31 said...

good luck to sven although I think the Ivorians have a slight chance of making it through considering that the Portuguese have been playing sub-par as of late.

3:05 AM  

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