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   June 8, 2002 | 1820 IST



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England to treat Nigeria tie like final

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Trevor Huggins

England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson urged his men on Saturday to treat their last group game "like a final" against eliminated Nigeria after their stirring defeat of Argentina in the World Cup.

Friday's 1-0 win over the South Americans at Sapporo left England needing only a draw on Wednesday, against a side who have lost both their group F games, to reach the second round.

But Eriksson drew a parallel with another memorable victory, last September's 5-1 win over Germany in Munich, which was followed by a difficult 2-0 win over Albania and a last-minute 2-2 draw with Greece to reach the finals.

"This is a good moment to remember what happened after Germany in qualifying," he told a news conference.

"We played Albania not very well, we did our job, and then we played Greece and that was not good at all.

"We qualified in injury time and I don't want that to happen again -- that we beat Argentina and then think it will be easy to play Nigeria. It would be very stupid and very dangerous.

"We have to treat it like a final," Eriksson insisted.

"Nigeria have zero points but they have very good players and they can play football, there's no doubt about that. It's a very important game."

Explaining the difference between England's poor second half display in their 1-1 draw with Sweden and Friday's win over Argentina, Eriksson said: "We played good football against Sweden for the 35 minutes... yesterday we did it for nearly 80 minutes.

"All the team did extremely well and worked very, very hard.

"They worked with their hearts in the last 10 minutes and you have to do that sometimes in football. You just get the ball away, when you need to, and they did it extremely well."

Sweden and Argentina meet in the other group F game on Wednesday with the loser facing elimination with Nigeria.

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