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Sunday, March 25, 2007

Euro2008 qualifying matches, Israel 0-0 England

England find no way past Israel
England's Euro 2008 qualifying campaign stuttered again with a dismal stalemate against Israel in Tel Aviv.

Tight tussle
England had probably the better chances, including Jamie Carragher's header on to the crossbar, but Israel were resolute in defence and deserving of a point that will have pleased more than anyone the group's top two teams, Croatia and Russia, who are now respectively five and three points clear of this pair.

Tamuz effort
His options limited by injuries, visiting manager Steve McClaren deployed Phil Neville and Carragher as full-backs and Wayne Rooney and Andy Johnson up front, while his opposite number Dror Kashtan used 18-year-old Toto Tamuz in attack. The teenager had an immediate opportunity yet was unable to force the ball in after pouncing on a Rio Ferdinand backpass.

Lampard denied
The away side had little of the action in the early stages but in the 22nd minute Johnson and Steven Gerrard combined to set up Frank Lampard, whose shot was smothered by the alert Dudu Awat. Soon after, Tamuz forced England goalkeeper Paul Robinson to save, and although the visitors pushed hard towards the end of the half, Awat was not troubled.

Carragher close
It was a similar story as the second period began, England moving forward but incapable of breaking down the Israel rearguard. Carragher sent a looping header on to the crossbar, though Awat looked to have it covered, and while 17-year-old Ben Sahar was brought on for his competitive Israel debut, most of the excitement was at the other end.

Awat saves
Rooney had an effort blocked by Tal Ben Haim and the assured Awat then stopped a Lampard volley. With the clock ticking down, Jermain Defoe was brought on to add impetus to the England front line, and with seven minutes left, Awat did well to smother the substitute's attempt from close range as his team defended deeply to secure a point.

Israel: Aouate, Ben Haim, Gershon, Ziv, Benado, Spungin, Badir, Benayoun, Ben Shushan (Alberman 87), Tamuz (Barda 75), Balili (Sahar 69).
Subs Not Used: Davidovitch, Golan, Toama, Antebi.

Booked: Benado, Ben Haim.

England: Robinson, Neville (Richards 72), Ferdinand, Terry, Carragher, Gerrard, Lampard, Hargreaves, Lennon (Downing 83), Rooney, Johnson (Defoe 80).
Subs Not Used: Foster, Barry, Carrick, Dyer.

Booked: Carragher, Rooney.

Euro2008 qualifying matches, Israel 0-0 England highlights: