FORMER England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson said yesterday one of his dying wishes is to see the Three Lions win this year’s Euros — and he is confident they can.
The Swede, 75, who has been given “a year at best” to live by cancer doctors, said he would be thrilled to be around to watch the team lift their first trophy since 1966.
Famed footie schemer and ladies’ man Svenhas been charting the progress of Gareth Southgate’s men from his stunning waterside home in Sweden during the months he has kept his terminal illness secret.
Sven, who learned of his fate in February last year, said: “England play very good football and Sweden have not qualified so I’ll be supporting them. It would be great for me to be around to see them win.
“They have a very good team and it is not only 11 players or even 12 or 13 — they have many, many extremely good footballers so I think England, this time, can do it.
“Gareth Southgate and the players have a very good chance. They know that. And with a little luck with injuries and more luck during the tournament they can go all the way.
“They’re extremely good and I’m very impressed.”
He said: “Harry Kane is a born goalscorer and important for England.
“But what about the kid from Real Madrid! He’s a big star in Spain and is going to be a big star on the world stage. He is young and extremely good — attacking, defending and scoring goals.
“I wish he had been at my disposal. I would have found a place for him, for sure.”
As hefrom his home at Sunne on Lake Fryken, ailing Sven says he will be hoping England are not undone once more by their lingering penalties hoodoo.
He said: “Last time, against Italy, England came very close to winning but lost on penalties again.
“I still believe that the bigger the star you are and the bigger the team you play in the more difficult it is for you to take a penalty.
“It’s nothing to do with technique — it’s all about how you cope with the mental pressure because England haven’t won since ’66, so it’s huge.
“When he walks from the midline to the penalty spot there are some thoughts in the head of the player, for sure. But let’s hope if it comes down to another penalty shoot-out England can win it this.
“We should have done better when I was in charge at the World Cups in 2002 and especially in 2006 when we should have reached the semi or the final. But in 2002 we were beaten by Brazil, who were the better team on the day and went on to win it.
“In 2006, I could not see any team better than us but that’s. We had chances to win but lost on penalties yet again. We have to hope history does not repeat itself.”
Brave footie favourite Sven said he was “taking each day as it comes” as his colourful life begins to draw to a close — and is relishing his fond memories of his time with England.
He said he would forever savour the 5-1 thrashing of Germany in a crucial World Cup qualifier in Munich in September 2001, when Michael Owen bagged a hat-trick and David Beckham and Steven Gerrard starred. Sven sighed: “It was incredible, remarkable, because you don’t beat Germany away in a competitive game by 5-1. You can win 1-0, or perhaps 2-0, but 5-1 was very special.
“A lot of England football fans remember that day and the result was the most amazing ever for me. It’s still very close to my heart.
“I’m not thinking about what I have done in my life here now but talking to you about my past I know I had a very good life.
“I’m very lucky to have been in football for a long time at a very high level and that I have seen the world. But when you get a diagnosis like this, every day you wake and you are not full of pain is a great thing.
“I’m not really in pain right now and I’m being treated very well so far. I take one day at a time.
“I know what I have. I know it can’t be operated on and everything I take is to try to slow it down — and so far, so good.”
Sven, who also managed Man City and Leicester City and was director of football at Notts County, went on: “I’m seeing specialists and hopefully I’ll have one year and hopefully more but it will possibly be less as well.
“I’m still going to the gym regularly because it makes me feel better — physically and even more mentally. I don’t see any reason to stop now.”
Sven, who also managed top sides in Sweden, Italy and Portugal, added that he is pleased his favourite team, Liverpool, top the Premier League.
He said: “I hope Liverpoolwill win it this year because I have always been a Liverpool fan — right from when I was a young boy.”
Sven, who dated Italian-American lawyer Nancy Dell’Olio and fellow Swede and TV host Ulrika Jonsson, went on to speak warmly about what could have been his last and New Year with his family. He said: “We had 13 or 14 over for a family get-together. It was very quiet and very good to see everyone.
“No one even mentioned that it might be my last Christmas. It might be or it might not be. Who knows?
“There were no tearful or emotional moments because I don’t want that.
“I wanted us to live as normal and I didn’t want to make a drama. My plan now is to enjoy a normal life for as long as possible and to wake up feeling good — that’s a great thing. Life is beautiful — and it is still beautiful.”
NANCY Dell’Olio has spoken of her pain at former partner Sven Goran-Eriksson’s cancer diagnosis — but he says that he has no plans to get back in touch with her.
Nancy, 62, who dated the Swede for more than a decade, said: “I didn’t think 2024 would open with more bad news.
“I knew that Sven was ill, but it hurts so much to hear this. Sven’s announcement was devastating. I knew he wasn’t well, but hearing his words really hurt. Life can be cruel,”
Sven, who has a new partner who he declined to identify yesterday, said of Nancy: “I have not reached out to her and she has not reached out to me – not at all. I didn’t know that she had spoken about me.”