Sven-Goran Eriksson conceded that Turkey are in the driving seat to qualify as Group 7 winners, following his side’s embarrassing 2-2 draw with Macedonia.
England’s insipid draw, coupled with Turkey’s comprehensive 5-0 victory over Liechenstein, leaves Ericksson’s men five points behind the group leaders.
Assessing the performance Ericksson stated: “It was a disappointing result – but I think for long periods we played good football. We were unlucky and should have won.”
“It’s a bad result for us, but life goes on. There are still eight games left to play in the group and I’m not going to cry about it.”
England went 1-0 down through a blunder by David Seaman. Seaman misjudged a corner from Artim Sakiri which went straight over his head and intothe net.
The media spotlight is again focusing on the ageing Arsenal star Ericksson refused to blame Seaman for the mistake but stated that he would be reviewing his goalkeeping options prior to England’s next fixture.
“We have four months until our next game. We have a lot of time to go around and see players and goalkeepers. David Seaman has not lost his place in the team. I talked to him after the game. He made a very good save in the second half.”
Seaman’s Arsenal partner, Sol Campbell, was at fault for England’s second goal. Ericksson remained philosophical ‘basic mistakes happen even at the highest level.”
Speaking on behalf of the players, captain David Beckham stated: “The players are pretty low, we felt we should have won the game, but we can’t afford to get too low, it’s only the second game and we have to go on from here.”
Less complimentary about England and David Beckham in particular was Macedonian coach Nikola Ilieviski.
“If my number five played in England and marked Beckham, then Beckham would have to move abroad,” said Ilieviski.
He continued: “I am pleased with what we have achieved with such a young team.”
England’s misery was compounded in the 90th minute when Alan Smith was sent off for a second bookable offence.
“He had an extremely good game,” said Ericksson “I am not disappointed in him.”