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Last Updated: Monday, 19 November 2007, 07:50 GMT
No excuses for failure - McClaren
England coach Steve McClaren
McClaren has warned England against complacency
England v Croatia
Wembley, London
Wednesday 21 November
Kick-off: 2000 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC One & BBC Radio 5 Live (commentary on BBC Sport website for UK users only); Coverage on BBC Sport website

Steve McClaren says there can be no excuses if England fail to reach Euro 2008 - after being thrown a lifeline by Israel's 2-1 win over Russia.

England face Croatia on Wednesday and need a point to clinch qualification.

"Qualification is key. We're back in control and in the driving seat and it's up to us," said the England coach.

"There are no excuses. We've got to make sure we qualify. Croatia have nothing to play for but are a very good side and capable of winning this game."

McClaren has vowed England will try to beat Croatia rather than play safe and seek the draw which would see them qualify for Euro 2008.

It would be a great boost to get the media, fans and people on the street behind us

England boss Steve McClaren

"All we need to do is draw, but we've got to be positive," said McClaren.

"We've got to attack, be up-tempo and really go to win the game. We've got to make sure that we're not negative.

"We have got to make sure that complacency does not set in and make sure we are focused."

McClaren, who has come in from some heavy criticism during England's rollercoaster qualifying campaign for next summer's finals in Austria and Switzerland, feels the supporters need to be as positive as the players.


"Expectations I know are great, but you can't do it without the fans," he said. "It's about sticking together, being positive and getting behind the team.

"It can be a fantastic atmosphere at Wembley and it can be intimidating for the opposition, while boosting our own players and we need that.

"We have to perform, and it would be a great boost to get the media, fans and people on the street behind us."

Russia would have qualified with a win in Israel, after placing themselves in the driving seat after a 2-1 victory over England last month, but their fate is now out of their hands.

And McClaren admitted England have nowhere to hide after they were handed the unexpected reprieve.

He added: "The players are all buoyed with the Israel-Russia result, and the opportunity they have.

"I think the feeling is we've got a great chance now, it's up to us, there are no excuses."

One supporter who will be fully behind the team on Wednesday is captain John Terry.

The Chelsea defender is recovering from a knee operation having been out of action since injuring himself in training the day before England defeat in Russia last month.

Many newspapers on Monday had linked the centre-back with a shock return to the squad.

An FA spokesman told BBC Sport: "He will not be training with England on Monday.

"As things stand, John will be on the bench on Wednesday giving his support to his team-mates."

  • Striker Mladen Petric is Croatia's only doubt for the match after the Borussia Dortmund frontman reported ill on Monday. The squad will travel to London on Tuesday.

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