From today's news service:
Eriksson wary of Socceroos 9:29 AM December 9
England football coach Sven-Goran Eriksson says his side will have no fear of Brazil or Argentina at next year's World Cup, but he does want to avoid Australia in tomorrow morning's draw.
Though he believes a seeded England are better equipped to face the world's elite in 2006 than they were in 2002, Eriksson is bracing himself for a tricky draw in Leipzig.
"Holland, Australia and the United States would be the worst for us," the England coach told reporters.
"On paper, Holland are the best non-seeded team. Marco Van Basten is building a new team and has been very successful with it."
Looking at the other pots from which England's group rivals will emerge, Eriksson said: "The United States and Australia desperately want to beat England in a big tournament. That would be a big boost for their countries."
England's long-standing sporting rivalry with Australia has reached new heights in recent times with the country's cricketers winning back the Ashes earlier this year, and their rugby triumph over Australia in the 2003 World Cup final.
However, Eriksson has unhappy memories of their last meeting on a football pitch.
The Socceroos defeated England 3-1 in a sharply contested friendly in February 2003 at Upton Park, which he now regrets having organised.
"It was far away from a friendly match," Eriksson recalled. "They desperately wanted to beat us and they did."
Unaware of the intensity of the old rivalry, he admitted: "I never knew. If I had known about it, I wouldn't have played Australia because it was not a friendly game at all." Source: Reuters
Interesting how Erickson admits the 3-1 thrashing at Upton Park wasn't so 'friendly', eh?