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Page last updated at 12:34 GMT, Tuesday, 9 September 2008 13:34 UK

Defoe happy to settle for a draw

Jermain Defoe
Defoe says England are still hurting from missing out on Euro 2008

Striker Jermain Defoe says England would be happy to come away with a draw from Wednesday's World Cup qualifier against Croatia in Zagreb.

Croatia have never lost a competitive game at the Maksimir Stadium and they beat England in Euro 2008 qualifying.

"A draw would be a great result in Croatia," said Defoe.

"We have to be strong and believe we are going to win because it is a massive game. But the most important thing is to get a result."

England lie second in Group Six after beating Andorra 2-0 in their opening qualifier on Saturday, while Croatia top the pool following their 3-0 win against Kazakhstan.

Fabio Capello's men know from experience that their results against Croatia are likely to have a significant bearing on their hopes of progressing to South Africa in 2010.

The Croats beat England home and away en route to Euro 2008, their win at Wembley in November ending England's bid to reach the finals in Austria and Switzerland.

Only the group winners are guaranteed a place in South Africa, with eight of the nine runners-up entering the play-offs and the one remaining runner-up missing out altogether.

"We owe Croatia one. Our two results against them cost us in the end," said Defoe, who played 45 minutes against Andorra on Saturday.

"They were both huge disappointments and it does not matter what sport you play, if you lose to someone, you want to beat them next time round.

"We will be ready this time," he added. "I do not want to feel like that again. It was a horrible experience (missing out of Euro 2008).

"We know Croatia are excellent at home. We know they are a good side with good players.

"But man for man I honestly believe we are better. It is down to us to show those qualities."

see also
Capello angry with Cole & Rooney
07 Sep 08 |  Internationals
England role frustrates Gerrard
07 Sep 08 |  Internationals
England must raise game in Zagreb
07 Sep 08 |  Internationals
Andorra coach hits out at Capello
07 Sep 08 |  Internationals
Ferdinand in reckoning for Zagreb
08 Sep 08 |  Internationals
Andorra 0-2 England
06 Sep 08 |  Internationals
Pick your England XI
31 Aug 07 |  Internationals
England 2-3 Croatia
21 Nov 07 |  Internationals
Croatia 2-0 England
11 Oct 06 |  Internationals

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