Arsenal Legend Sol Campbell: "Our Best Chance Of A Trophy Was Euro 2004"

Ahead of the World Cup, we sat down with former England defender Sol Campbell for a chat about his tournament experiences...
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Arsenal Legend Sol Campbell: "Our Best Chance Of A Trophy Was Euro 2004"

What do you think would have happened if the goal against Argentina in St Etienne had been given, not only in terms of the game, but the France '98 tournament itself?

We would have got to the quarter-finals! It would have been a tough game against Holland – but we were in good shape though, you just never know. We might have had a better result against Holland.

I was at the 5-1 win in Munich – the German players looked shell-shocked – what did they say to you on the final whistle?

They had never lost at home in a qualifier had they – what a result that was!

I don’t know what they said - I don’t speak German! I think they just said schiesse!

I was at the 2002 World Cup quarter-final versus Brazil - if we had gone in 1-0 up at half-time could there have been a different outcome, bearing in mind we would have played Turkey in the semi-final and a German side we had beaten 5-1 nine months previously?

Yeah. It’s moments isn’t it? We had two chances to get rid of the ball in the lead up to the goal, and we had two players who jumped over tackles and it’s annoying. It’s annoying. If certain people hadn’t jumped out of a tackle who knows. [Incredulous] Jumping out of tackles in World Cups is just ridiculous. That’s how one of those Brazil goals was scored. It’s unbelievable. It’s scary.

Do you think we could have won the World Cup that year?

[Thinks long and hard] For me personally I think we had a really good chance in Euro '96 and France '98, but for me personally, I thought our best chance of winning a tournament was the Euros in Portugal in 2004. That goal goes in for me and then it’s the semi-final – then you’ve got one more game and then it’s the final. I enjoyed playing in that team, it was a really good side.

For me personally the best chance for winning a tournament for England was then. Everyone was the right age – it was a good mix – we had some youngsters like Rooney, mid-20s, and late-20s at the peak of their game.

Do you think we played well due to Sven Goran Eriksson in Euro 2004 - or despite him?

[Dismissively] No. The players were there before Sven. It isn’t like he brought these players in when they were 20. We played good football before he came along.

Buy Sol Campbell’s book "Sol Campbell - The Authorised Biography" by Simon Astaire on Amazon

Layth Yousif is a freelance journalist who has written for The London Evening Standard, The Islington Gazette, Four-Four-Two, When Saturday Comes, and World Soccer amongst others. Follow him on twitter @laythy29.