Keeper: England to blame
Israel's Dudu Aouate believes England have only themselves to blame for their precarious Euro 2008 position.
By Chris Harvey
Last Updated: 13/11/07 9:18am
Israel goalkeeper Dudu Aouate believes England have only themselves to blame for having to rely on others for their Euro 2008 salvation.
The shot-stopper, who will have a key role to play if the Israelis are to deny Russia the win they need to all-but guarantee qualification for the finals at England's expense, thinks Steve McClaren's men have failed to use the talent at their disposal.
"I think England are better than Russia when you look at the names in their side but they have not been able to prove that they are as good as those names suggest," he told the Guardian.
"Russia are an improving, emerging team with a lot of promise and they are more of a team than England - they work as more of a collective unit."
However, Aouate has promised his side will do all they can to help England reach Austria and Switzerland.
McClaren's men need Israel to pick up at least a draw on Saturday even though the Israelis are unable to reach the finals themselves.
"I'm not bothered that people are saying we don't care about the result," he said. "Anyone who says we don't care about winning the match is wrong. England can rest assured we will do everything we can to win the match because we want to win for ourselves; not for England, for Israel.
"We know we can't qualify but the points could be useful for us in terms of our rankings when it comes to the World Cup qualifiers.
"We will approach this match as if it was the most important match in the group. We drew with Russia away and we are not an easy team to beat at home."
Meanwhile, Liverpool midfielder Yossi Benayoun has revealed England stars Steven Gerrard and Peter Crouch have been urging him to play against Russia.
Benayoun picked up an adductor tear against Fulham and has been ruled out for three weeks but told Israel's Sport 5 television: "Steven Gerrard and Peter Crouch have been driving me crazy in the last few weeks but my health is more important than England's needs and I must rest and take care of myself."