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Terry Butcher on Phil Neville's blunder
"It's an awful feeling"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 21 June, 2000, 06:24 GMT 07:24 UK
Blame us, says Owen
Michael Owen
Owen gives England the lead - but not for long
BBC Sport Online's Pete Lansley hears Michael Owen offer no excuses in Charleroi.

Michael Owen admits that England's players have no-one to blame but themselves for failing to qualify for the Euro 2000 quarter-finals.

The Liverpool striker's goal against Romania looked to be sending Kevin Keegan's men into the quarter-finals, but once again they failed to kill off the game.

Owen said: "We're obviously very down to be 2-1 up at half-time and not qualify with three points.

"Unfortunately we couldn't hold on to the lead - it was a bit similar to the Portugal game, going ahead and then losing. "I don't think anyone in the world could fault our commitment and our work rate and our pride in the way we play, but we didn't pass or keep the ball well.

"The manager wasn't pleased with the way we passed the ball throughout the tournament. We haven't got into top gear even though we all put in 100 per cent."

Peaceful

The game against Romania, who now face Italy in the last eight, was at least preceded by a peaceful afternoon which was in stark contrast to the violence ahead of the match against Germany.

The trouble had prompted Uefa's threat that the team would be kicked out if there was any more trouble from England's followers.



The manager wasn't pleased with the way we passed the ball throughout the tournament. We haven't got into top gear even though we all put in 100 per cent.

Michael Owen
Owen, however, refused to use the disturbances as a reason for England's exit: "It would be stupid to blame our defeat on the fans - that would be looking for excuses.

"As players, you don't really hear too much unless you read the papers every day, and even if you do, your mind's focused on the game.

"That wasn't going to get us knocked out the tournament. It was the players, and we can't blame anyone but ourselves."


Keown, Neville, Beckham
Neville is consoled by Keown (l) and Beckham
Phil Neville will be cast as the fall guy after his 88th-minute challenge on Viorel Moldovan earned Romania their winning penalty.

The Manchester United left-back was inconsolable after the final whistle.

But Owen said: "Phil will bounce back from this. He's playing in a world-class team and he's playing for England at a young age. He'll learn from that and we attach no blame to him."

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See also:

20 Jun 00 | Euro2000
Keegan refuses to make excuses
20 Jun 00 | England
Where do England go from here?
20 Jun 00 | The BBC Team
England paid price for bad mistakes
20 Jun 00 | England
Sad farewell for Shearer
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