Eriksson back at World Cup with Ivory Coast

PORT ELIZABETH, South Africa (AP) — It's the same Sven-Goran Eriksson, only at this World Cup there are no England logos anywhere around him.

Eriksson is with Ivory Coast, a team he took over in March after the previous coach, Vahid Halilhodzic, was fired.

Dressed in a white winter jacket, Eriksson was leading the team through a chilly and rainy Monday night training session at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium ahead of its first Group G match against Portugal on Tuesday.

The Swedish coach took England to the quarterfinals at the last two World Cups. In 2006, his England team lost on penalty kicks to Portugal. This time, he'll face Portugal with his new team with a chance for redemption, but not revenge.

"Four years ago we were a little unlucky and we could not put penalties in, but that's life," Eriksson said. "I do not think about that any more. It's not easy, but I do not think it will be easy for Portugal either, because we have a good team with a lot of good football players in it."

Eriksson acknowledged he's limited by the relatively short time spent with the team.

"That's a factor, but I'm very confident," Eriksson said. "The players have been working very, very hard, so we look forward to it."

Eriksson became coach of Mexico in June 2008 after Manchester City released him from his contract two years early. He was fired by Mexico in March 2009 after winning only one of his last seven competitive games.

He had been out of work since February, when he left his job as director of soccer at English fourth-tier club Notts County, a job he took after being fired by Mexico.

Eriksson's impact is already being felt on the team, said Ivory Coast defender Kolo Toure. He said Eriksson instilled a sense of teamwork.

"Sometimes we, instead of thinking about the team, we are thinking about ourselves," Toure said. "I think Mr. Eriksson came and he just said to us, 'If you want to be one of the best teams in this World Cup, we need to work together.'"

Eriksson was asked about England's 1-1 draw with the United States in its first match, in which a goalkeeping error by England's Robert Green gave the Americans their goal.

"I think England were unlucky," Eriksson said. "Robert Green was very unlucky and I felt very sorry for him because he must feel awful to do what he did. I think England will go through for sure."