Sven: 'We can win World Cup'

April 25, 2006

England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson today insisted his World Cup team can win football's top prize this year.

Eriksson stressed that his team rank among five or six countries who stand a good chance of going all the way in Germany, and said the self-belief among his players was much greater than in the last tournament.

'I always said we have to do better than we did in Japan, and that was the quarter-finals, but I also said if we had the players who are fit I think we have a squad who can win the World Cup,' said Eriksson.

'I think we are that good, I believe it and the important thing is the players believe it, they believe it much more today than four years ago.'

The England boss stressed he had no opinion about who would succeed him after this summer's tournament, and said he hoped to go on coaching but did not know what he would be doing.

'The most important thing today is the World Cup.'

And he welcomed the news that Arsenal left-back Ashley Cole, defender Sol Campbell and striker Michael Owen looked set to return to fitness before the competition.

Speaking at a press conference to mark the training of 10,000 voluntary coaches through a grassroots programme sponsored by McDonald's, Eriksson joked he liked the speculation about who would get the England job because it kept the focus away from him.

At the press conference Eriksson was handed a gold whistle by World Cup star Sir Geoff Hurst to become the programme's honorary 10,000th coach.

Sir Geoff said that, in order to win the World Cup, 'all the players have to be totally and utterly focused on doing one thing and one thing only for the best part of two months. We've got as good a chance as we've had going back maybe to our team.'