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England's Euro 2008 Fate Is in Israel's Hands

The fate of whether England qualifies for next summer’s Euro 2008 is now in the hands of Israel after the English national team lost 2-1. If Russia beats Israel and Andorra in its remaining matches, then both Croatia and Russia will qualify automatically leaving England to watch the tournament on television.

The pinnacle match deciding England’s fate will be Saturday, November 17, when Israel plays at home against Russia. If Russia wins, then England’s fate is doomed. Russia’s last match is at home against minnows Andorra on November 21. If Russia doesn’t get three points from that match, they don’t deserve to qualify for Euro 2008.

Even if England doesn’t qualify for the tournament, which would be massive blow, I’m not convinced that a shock to the system like that would do anything to improve the standard of football in England. Sure, McClaren would get sacked. His departure is inevitable. If it doesn’t happen in late November, it’ll probably happen after Euro 2008 especially if England puts in performances like they did against Andorra, Macedonia and Croatia.

The reason why I think England not qualifying for Euro 2008 will not make a massive difference is because the FA (Football Association) continue making the same wrong mistakes (hiring the wrong sort of managers), the influx of foreign talent into the Premier League and the lack of promising English footballers. Sure there are a handful of talented young players, but they are too far and few between.

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  1. Corey

    October 19, 2007 at 6:18 am

    Oh, and that comment by Harry Redknapp about kids playing video games? Ridiculous…OK, so kids do play more games these days but managers were probably just as suspect about television when it was a nascent technology…all the hand-wringing about kids playing with newfangled devices & and the talent pool drying up is just people grasping at straws to explain something that seems so unexplainable to them: how can a group of highly trained, highly paid in their club teams, and highly visible players not be able to come together to even qualify? Well, chemistry is important and it is evident that the England team hasn’t been built with chemistry in mind for quite some time…this reminds me of the US Basketball team and its woes in some tournaments in the past years.

  2. MJ

    October 18, 2007 at 5:32 pm

    Gaffer, you mentioned how if Russia don’t take full points from Andorra, they don’t deserve to be in Euro 2008. England couldn’t beat Macedonia at Old Trafford in October 2006 (0-0 draw). Do they deserve to qualify? I think not.

  3. Anonymous

    October 18, 2007 at 12:22 pm

    How pathetic is the national team right now? Even if they make it through, they will choke in a familiar fashion in Austria/Switzerland. England and Spain should be declared as the biggest losers in history of football.
    The coach should obviously go. England has the talented players to win a Euro or World Cup title. They just haven’t had the right manager(Phil Scolari) to line them up the right way and bring in the right mentality. And that’s the bottom line.
    There is a good possibility that Russia may choke at Israel. Why? Because the Russians are a disturbingly mediocre team.
    4 or 5 of the teams going to Euro’08 are attrocious. Poland(most likely), Norway(unless they lose to Turkey at home), co-hosts(Austria will be the worse team in the tournament next summer), and Russia are teams that I will not bother watching come tournament time.

  4. The Scout

    October 18, 2007 at 9:58 am

    Harry Redknapp had a comment on the state of English talent the other day. It’s not the entire answer but it is another aspect which has not been given much press.

    The Portsmouth boss recalled how he used to kick a ball in the street until it got dark during his childhood, adding: ‘Now I rarely see a kickabout in the park. All I see are the dazzling lights of bedroom windows from the glare of TVs and computers. It seems football cannot compete with an Xbox.’

  5. Is this betting

    October 18, 2007 at 9:31 am

    I just don’t think the older players have the desire anymore. Qualifying for a major tournament these days mean players can be expected to live like monks for up to six weeks away from family and friends.

    The England management needs to identify the hungry young players who have a real desire to achieve something. The big time players look like they lack motivation for these games. It was Russia that looked hungrier and stronger.

    Strange things do happen in international football so I’m not totally distraught yet.

  6. Corey

    October 18, 2007 at 2:39 am

    I have a real problem with anyone who says that talented players are “too far and few between” for the England National Football Team to qualify in any international competition…I mean, how many well supported leagues does England have?

    Yes, the Premiership does have a lot of foreign players…that means that the FA & English managers need to adapt and start focusing on the Championship & lower leagues now for international players then. But when you have 4 major professional divisions & then the Conference, a nation should have no right saying that there aren’t enough good players to field an amazing national team. Maybe England should stop relying on older Premiership players and start focusing on using lower league talent that is willing to work with the national team for training for a longer period of time….

  7. MJ

    October 17, 2007 at 10:19 pm

    Agreed, Kartik. Listening to WSD today, Steven Cohen was saying that it’s basically done and dusted that England have no chance to qualify, but I beg to differ.

    Russia won’t be in for a picnic when they go to Israel, but it’s like you said about the Croatia-England game from which Croatia need nothing: Israel have already been eliminated so they’re not playing for anything either, Russia have it all to play for and that’s why I think they can scrape out the win.

  8. Natz

    October 17, 2007 at 10:17 pm

    Its sad because they were the better team.
    Paul Robbinson has to go!

  9. Kartik

    October 17, 2007 at 9:41 pm

    Russia is by no means guaranteed a win @ Israel. I say a draw is likely and then England will have a chance if they can beat Croatia who will have already qualified and need nothing from the match at Wembley. This thing is far from over, but England has made a mess of it.

  10. YankeeRam

    October 17, 2007 at 9:41 pm

    I just can’t see England qualfying now, they did it to themselves by drawing with macedonia twice.

  11. MJ

    October 17, 2007 at 9:05 pm

    Russia’s game against Andorra is actually in Andorra, though I don’t think it’ll make much of a difference.

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