“Fantasztikus volt, ahogy a közönség búcsúztatott. Ők a világ legjobb szurkolói. Rendkívül büszke vagyok, hogy az ő csapatukat én vezethetem a világbajnokságra. Talán nem is moindenki akarja, hogy hagyjam el a csapatot” – mondta a korábban sokat támadott tréner.
Hálával tartozom nekik, szeretnám ezt a lehető legjobb eredménnyel megköszönni – tette hozzá Eriksson, aki tanítványai Jamaica elleni utolsó felkészülési mérkőzése után maga is a pályára vonult. Hatalmas üdvrivalgás, percekig tartó tapsvihar közepette a svéd edő
z “It was very good, the crowd was very nice. It was very emotional and I wish to say a big, big thank you to them all.”
final act as England coach on home soil was something out of the ordinary.
Stood unaccompanied close to the Old Trafford centre circle, Eriksson reached out to every England fan.
As the 70,000 crowd were starting to file out of the stadium after celebrating England’s 6-0 thrashing of Jamaica, most were suddenly stopped in their tracks.
With the players safely down the tunnel, Eriksson ghosted to the centre of the pitch and began to wave to the crowd. He then bowed in turn to all four sides of the vast arena.
It was an extraordinarily personal moment for a man who is not at ease with revealing his emotions in public – a display that tugged at the heartstrings of every soul in the stadium.
It was a moment of personal achievement which must have left Eriksson feeling accepted at last.
The response was equally as wholesome. Roused by the intimacy of the moment, Eriksson was given a standing ovation as he walked back off the pitch.
For a few seconds we finally saw the passion Eriksson talks of so freely, yet displays so rarely.
Eriksson may not have had a tear in his eye, but he was choked.
He said: “I was very proud. It was fantastic. Maybe not all of them want me out of the job.
Played 63, Won 38, Drawn 15, Lost 10
In competitive games:
Played 33, Won 23, Drawn 7, Lost 3
Former clubs: Degerfors, IFK Gothenburg, Benfica, Roma, Fiorentina, Benfica, Sampdoria, Lazio
Graham Taylor’s Eriksson profile
Intimate stuff from the Swede, who goes into this week’s World Cup knowing his reign as England coach will soon come to an end after five-and-a-half years.
His body language after the Jamaica jamboree suggested he is ready for the biggest challenge yet at England’s helm.
Expectations are higher than ever and Eriksson insisted he was desperate to win the World Cup.
“I have no doubt this is the best England side I have managed,” he wrote in his programme notes. “We have been close before, now is the time to make it happen.
“I am proud to wear the Three Lions. This is a fantastic, amazing footballing country and I want us to make history together. Let’s go there and win the World Cup.”
There is a genuine feeling within the England camp they can win football’s greatest prize and end 40 years of hurt.
“I strongly believe we are one of the countries who can win it,” he added. “We are no worse than any of the other big football countries.”
England fly out from Luton to Germany on Monday knowing the nation is behind them.
Eriksson’s aim is to keep his successor Steve McClaren waiting for as long as possible – for seven more matches by taking England to the final and bringing the trophy home.
Maybe then the cold man of steel, so often without emotion through times of thrills and spills, would let us into his consciousness one more time.
It would have to be for a spot of Peter Crouch-style robot dancing. What a way to bow out that would be.