Eriksson rounds on his players after Danes humiliate pathetic England

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The Independent Football

England had played reasonably well in the first half, before capitulating in the second period. When asked if he thought the second half was England's worst 45 minutes under his leadership, Eriksson said: "Yes. Of course it was, absolutely. I have nothing to say about the first half because I think that was good football from both sides.

"I am very sorry and angry about the second half. That was a disaster. We were all over the place, not defending well, losing the ball. We did nothing right for 30-35 minutes. We came out in the second half and it seems like it's a holiday. I am very sorry for the fans. I told [the players] that if we are going to play football like this we can forget the World Cup, absolutely.

"We're not going to play football like that when it comes to qualification games. But anyhow, you can lose a football game but not as we lost the second half today."

Four second-half goals were conceded as England's defence was continually exposed by a side struggling to qualify for next summer's World Cup finals. It was Denmark's second successive win over England.

The England captain David Beckham said his team-mates were stunned by the blitz after their good first-half performance. "The first half was very good but, the second half, I don't know what it was," the Real Madrid player said. "They got three quick goals and that was the end of it. We lost our shape and didn't do things we had been told to do by the manager."

Beckham said the scoreline did England no harm for the future, "but at the moment it's hard to take. We just didn't play to our potential."

Asked if he thought motivation for last night was a problem, he said: "I personally don't think motivation's a problem. In our team we have a lot of motivated players - I just think tonight we lost our way a bit tonight, they got three quick goals and that was the end of it.

"The scoreline does no damage for the future but at the moment it's hard to take because we are preparing for qualifying games which are important to the country. We can't let it affect our confidence. We have two weeks before the next game. It's a hard defeat to take but it's a friendly game."

Eriksson admitted that he lost his normally cool demeanour in the England dressing-room after the match. "Well, of course. You're getting upset and you're getting angry and disappointed." The England coach said he hoped his team would be angered by their performance last night as they prepared to face Wales on 3 September. "We must ensure that what happened in the second half here does not happen again."

The England goalkeeper David James admitted he had not been good enough. "Personally I have had a look at myself and the way I prepared for the game. It wasn't done right and I blame myself because I relaxed being the substitute goalkeeper. I didn't have the attention and detail I normally would have and as an experienced professional it wasn't good enough."

Denmark coach Morten Olsen said: "We played a very good game but qualifying matches are something else. I think England are still a world-class team with world-class players. Every team has such a day."

England's worst-ever defeats

1878 Scotland (Glasgow), 2-7.

1881 Scotland (Kennington Oval), 1-6.

1882 Scotland (Glasgow), 1-5.

1900 Scotland (Glasgow), 1-4.

1921 Scotland (Glasgow), 0-3.

1928 Scotland (Wembley), 1-5.

1914 N Ireland (Middlesbrough), 0-3.

1931 France (Paris), 2-5.

1953 Hungary (Wembley), 3-6.

1954 Hungary (Budapest), 1-7.

1958 Yugoslavia (Belgrade), 0-5.

1959 Peru (Lima), 1-4.

1960 Spain (Madrid), 0-3.

1963 France (Paris), 2-5.

1964 Brazil (Rio de Janeiro), 1-5.

1980 Wales (Wrexham), 1-4.

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