Osborne: Don't blow it now, Steve
ENGLAND expects tonight - and the nation's football fans dare not consider the consequences if they fail to deliver.A draw against Croatia in their final Group E qualifying game will be sufficient to send England through to Euro 2008 in Austria and Switzerland after Russia's surprise loss in Israel on Saturday.
ENGLAND expects tonight - and the nation's football fans dare not consider the consequences if they fail to deliver.
A draw against Croatia in their final Group E qualifying game will be sufficient to send England through to Euro 2008 in Austria and Switzerland after Russia's surprise loss in Israel on Saturday.
However, defeat will mean England's absence from the showpiece event and signal a rescheduling of summer plans for thousands of England fans.
Roger Osborne, scorer of the most famous goal in Ipswich Town's history - the FA Cup winner at Wembley in 1978 - said: “I would like to think England will go through, but they are so unpredictable. It is not a cast-iron certainty, and at the back of your mind you wonder whether are they going to blow it.”
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“The match is at Wembley, so you would think England will do it, especially as Croatia have already qualified, but they have still got to get a point against a good side who had not lost in the qualifiers until the weekend.
“I think we will qualify if we play like Premiership players rather than England players. Over the past couple of years the Premier League seems to have taken priority over playing for England.
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“I can't understand how our players can play well on a Saturday for their Premier League sides but not for England. I don't know whether that is to do with the hype of the Premier League and we think they are better than they are.”
Osborne, who will watch tonight's match at home, said he thought England coach Steve McClaren had been given a reprieve thanks to Israel's victory, but added: “He can't expect to keep his job if we lose tonight.”
International rookie goalkeeper Scott Carson will make his first competitive appearance tonight in what probably represents the biggest gamble of McClaren's managerial career.