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Swedish football coach and former player, managing the English national side since January 2001.

Eriksson was born in Torsby, Sweden, on February 5, 1948. He played at right-back for second division side Karlskoga, and despite his determined ambition his relatively undistinguished career was brought to an end by a knee injury in 1975, at the age of 27.

Encouraged by a mentor, he turned to management and took over at third division Degerfors the following year. Within three seasons he had guided them to the first division. His name having been made, he embarked on a highly successful cross-continental career marked by his frequent movement between clubs.

In 1979 he was appointed manager of IFK Gothenburg, one of Sweden's top clubs, and started to develop into one of Europe's most sought-after managers. By 1982, Eriksson's Gothenburg had won the Swedish championship, the Swedish cup twice, and finally the UEFA Cup. In this year he moved to Portuguese side Benfica and won two championships and one cup in just two seasons at the club.

In 1984 he took over at Italian club AS Roma. He spent three seasons there but won only the Italian cup, in 1986. He spent the next two seasons managing Fiorentina (in Florence) but was unable to win any trophies and returned to Benfica in 1989. Here he spent another two seasons, reaching the European Cup final in 1990 (they lost to AC Milan), and winning his third Portuguese league title in 1991.

He was soon on the move again and returned to Italy to spend five years (his longest period at any club) coaching Sampdoria. His time there was not a great success and he was able to win just one trophy, the Italian cup in 1994. In 1997 he was appointed manager of Lazio (in Rome), where he fared somewhat better. In his first season he again won the Italian cup (although lost to Inter Milan in the final of the UEFA Cup), and in his second season he won the (now-defunct) European Cup Winners' Cup, Lazio's first European trophy. The following year he did even better and guided them to the league and cup double.

In twenty-five years he had managed seven clubs in three countries and won almost fifteen trophies, including cups, championships and two European honours. He was now one of the most respected Europe managers in Europe - quite possibly the most - and was recognised not only for his successes but for his gift for man-management.

Now 52, he started season 2000-2001 at Lazio but was linked in October with the vacant England position. He initially promised to fulfil his contract with Lazio, which would have run until July 2001, but was confirmed at the end of October as the next England manager and officially resigned from Lazio the following January.

Opinion was divided in England over whether a foreign manager should be allowed to coach the national side. A few notable members of the football community rather made fools of themselves with their tirades against the idea, overlooking the fact that the Premiership was already full of foreign managers and that other European countries, e.g. Ireland and Switzerland, had proved it could work.

Eriksson got off to the best start of any England manager in history, winning his first five games, and the criticism died down. Any remaining hint of objection was quietly forgotten in September of that year, when England qualified for the 2002 World Cup with a famous 5-1 victory over Germany, and a last-minute equaliser from David Beckham in their final qualifying match, a 2-2 draw with Greece at Old Trafford. Eriksson became something of a national hero in the process, and the country looked forward expectantly to the World Cup In the event, England reached the quarter-finals; perhaps only a modest success, but it was their best World Cup for 12 years and the performances were admirable.

After the summer, however, things took a turn for the worse. Allegations (reheated by the tabloids from earlier in the year, but quite possibly true) concerning romantic involvement between Eriksson and the fellow adopted Swede, TV personality Ulrika Jonsson, were surprisingly damaging and led to rumours of his impending resignation. Just as bad was England's unexceptional start to their theoretically easy qualifying campaign for the 2004 European Championship, drawing with Macedonia and only narrowly beating Slovakia.

Recent victories, however, have got England back on track and Eriksson's job looks relatively safe - from the Football Association, if not from himself. Eriksson has never stayed in any job and England's own record of holding on to managers has been poor in recent years. It would not be altogether surprising if he chose to leave, if not now then perhaps after 2004's European Championship. For now, however, he remains the toast of the country.

Managerial history:

1976-79: Degerfors, Sweden
1979-82: IFK Gothenburg, Sweden
1982-84: Benfica, Portugal
1984-87: AS Roma, Italy
1987-89: Fiorentina, Italy
1989-91: Benfica, Portugal
1991-96: Sampdoria, Italy
1997-01: Lazio, Italy
2001-present: England

Major honours:

1979: Swedish cup, IFK Gothenburg
1981: Swedish championship, IFK Gothenburg
1982: Swedish cup, IFK Gothenburg
1982: UEFA Cup, IFK Gothenburg
1983: Portuguese championship, Benfica
1983: Portuguese cup, Benfica
1984: Portuguese championship, Benfica
1986: Italian cup, AS Roma
1991: Portuguese championship, Benfica
1994: Italian cup, Sampdoria
1998: Italian cup, Lazio
1999: European Cup Winners' Cup, Lazio
2000: Italian championship, Lazio
2000: Italian cup, Lazio


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