Sven-Goran Eriksson's greatest matches as England manager - ranked

  • Sven-Goran Eriksson was in charge of England from 2001 to 2006
  • The Swede oversaw some famous victories as Three Lions boss
  • Former Lazio manager was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer

Eriksson oversaw several famous England victories
Eriksson oversaw several famous England victories / Simon M Bruty/GettyImages

The first foreign manager of the England national team, Sven-Goran Eriksson oversaw some famous victories during his time with the Three Lions.

The Swedish coach tended to divide opinion and was far from universally popular, but he still provided England supporters with some treasured memories during his almost six years in charge of the country's so-called 'Golden Generation'.

At the age of 75, Eriksson recently revealed that he has been diagnosed with cancer and may have less than a year to live, the tragic news having rocked football fans across Europe.

Here are Eriksson's best matches as England manager - ranked.

6. Croatia 2-4 England (21 June 2004)

Paul Scholes, Wayne Rooney, Frank Lampard
England ran out winners in the Euro 2004 group stage against Croatia / Sportsphoto/Allstar/GettyImages

England may have lost their first Euro 2004 group stage match to France in dramatic fashion, but a 3-0 victory over Switzerland gave the Three Lions hope of qualification heading into the final game with Croatia.

Things started badly for England, Niko Kovac firing home after a scramble from a free-kick just five minutes in, but Paul Scholes equalised with a scrappy close-range header. Eriksson's side would then complete a quickfire turnaround in first-half stoppage-time as Wayne Rooney unleashed a thunderbolt from 20 yards.

Rooney grabbed his brace after latching on to Michael Owen's incisive through ball, but Igor Tudor's header would throw England's qualification into doubt with just over 15 minutes to play.

Fortunately for England, Frank Lampard was on hand to secure their passage to the knockout stages with a delightful solo strike.

5. England 3-2 Argentina (11 November 2005)

David Beckham
England staged a late victory in a friendly / Mike Hewitt/GettyImages

Having managed over 1,000 games across his illustrious career, Eriksson took charge of 66 matches as England boss. One of his best moments as Three Lions boss came in an international friendly against perennial foes Argentina, hosted on neutral ground in Switzerland.

England came under some early pressure, Paul Robinson frequently called into action. Rooney had clipped the post at the other end, but it was Hernan Crespo who gave Argentina the lead from a Maxi Rodriguez cross.

Rooney did equalise shortly afterwards with his scuffed effort, but Walter Samuel's header restored Argentina's advantage ten minutes after half-time. However, there was still chance for a late England comeback.

Owen headed in a sumptuous Steven Gerrard cross with three minutes left, with the former Liverpool and Real Madrid striker bagging another in stoppage-time, this time from Joe Cole's wonderful delivery.

4. Denmark 0-3 England (15 June 2002)

Rio Ferdinand of England celebrates with Danny Mills after scoring the first goal
England booked their quarter-final spot by beating Denmark / Laurence Griffiths/GettyImages

45 minutes of brilliance from Eriksson's England would secure them a spot in the quarter-finals of the 2002 World Cup, with the Three Lions beating Denmark 3-0 in their round of 16 tie in Japan.

A Rio Ferdinand header gave England the lead after four minutes, although it definitely would have gone down as an own goal in modern times. Owen doubled their advantage just under 20 minutes later, converting from close range following Nicky Butt's deflected pass.

Emile Heskey wrapped up the victory just before half-time, the striker hammering home David Beckham's pass from the edge of the penalty area.

However, England would come unstuck at the dreaded quarter-final stage, losing 2-1 to eventual champions Brazil.

3. Argentina 0-1 England (7 June 2002)

David Beckham
Beating Argentina was David Beckham's closure / Laurence Griffiths/GettyImages

Prior to England's 3-0 victory over Denmark in 2002, Eriksson's side managed a famous victory over rivals Argentina in the group stage. Having drawn with Sweden in their opener, victory against the South Americans, pre-tournament favourites for the trophy, proved pivotal for the Three Lions.

The decisive moment of the match came late in the first half, when Mauricio Pochettino tripped Owen in the penalty area. There wasn't an awful lot of contact - but it didn't matter one bit to England.

Beckham stepped up sporting an impressive mohawk, thrashing his spot kick beyond a helpless Pablo Cavallero. A resilient England defence managed to hold on, while Argentina soon crashed out.

2. England 2-2 Greece (6 October 2001)

David Beckham, Martin Keown, Gary Neville
David Beckham scored a crucial late goal for England / GERALD PENNY/GettyImages

Knowing they needed to avoid defeat to automatically reach the 2002 World Cup, England welcomed Greece, who won Euro 2004 less than three years later, to Old Trafford in their final qualifying match.

It would prove to be difficult encounter for the Three Lions as Angelos Charisteas' fierce left-footed drive gave Greece a 1-0 lead at half-time.

Teddy Sheringham reduced heart rates with 20 minutes to play, looping his header into the far corner from Beckham's near-post free kick. However, Demis Nikolaidis would almost immediately go up the other end and score, converting Georgios Karagounis' pass from eight yards out.

It looked as if it would be more agonising heartbreak for England on the international stage, facing a challenging route through the playoffs instead, but Beckham had other ideas. The midfielder stood over a free-kick all of 30 yards from goal in the third minute of stoppage-time and curled an exquisite finish into the far corner.

It remains one of the most notable England goals of all-time and a game that lives long in the memory.

1. Germany 1-5 England (1 September 2001)

England celebrate
England hammered rivals Germany in Munich / Ross Kinnaird/GettyImages

There is absolutely no doubt about what Eriksson's greatest achievement in the England dugout was, with the only feasible answer being England's sensational 5-1 win over Germany in 2002 World Cup qualification.

Only a few months into the job and the biggest test of Eriksson's reign up until that point, England needed three points to kickstart their faltering campaign. That's exactly what they got - and in some style.

England still managed to make a nightmare start in Munich, Carsten Jancker poking an effort beyond David Seaman. However, the visitors swiftly levelled as Owen fired home from Nick Barmby's clever header.

Eriksson's side then took the lead just before half-time, Gerrard smashing an effort from 25 yards beyond Oliver Kahn, while Owen's half-volley made it 3-1 just after the break.

Owen would go on to claim a memorable hat-trick, collecting Gerrard's defence-splitting pass and lifting above an onrushing Kahn, and Heskey's fifth is immortalised in Ant & Dec's On the Ball.