Beckham fearful of qualification failure

August 25, 2007

David Beckham has described the prospect of England failing to reach Euro 2008 as 'unthinkable', and the midfielder accepts there will be no excuses if they are remain at home next summer.

Steve McClaren's men need to get results against Israel and Russia at Wembley next month to get their Group E campaign back on track as they look to seal a place for next year's tournament in Austria and Switzerland.

Wayne Rooney is out with his foot injury, and Steven Gerrard missed Wednesday's friendly defeat to Germany, but Beckham feels there should be enough cover to cope.

'At the end of the day we can't afford not to qualify for the championships, it's unthinkable that a nation like us and a team with the players we have are struggling to qualify,' said the 32-year-old.

'We've done well in the last couple of games, we need to carry that on. The next two games are massive for us.'

He added: 'We always say we can't talk about excuses. We should have the players in our country to deal with these situations when we have big players out whether it is Wayne Rooney or Steven Gerrard.

'We should have players that can come in and perform at a top level. We need to do that, it's so important.

'Of course we can get through, if we win our games we will get through.'

Letting a lead slip against Germany meant England have not won at the new Wembley yet, although the important fixtures are the ones in September.

'Like the manager said, we were lucky it was not a qualifying game,' Beckham added.

'No-one likes losing games, especially against the Germans and the rivals we are, especially after the start we had.

'We stepped off the pace and let them back in it, you can't afford to do that against teams.

'We've got to make this place a horrible place for people to come and play.'

If he plays in both games next month, Beckham will be on 99 caps, but getting closer to his ton is not as significant as delivering against Israel and Russia.

'It would mean the world to me to reach 100 caps but if we lose these games and we don't qualify then there will be disappointment there,' he said.

'It's so important that we play well and prepare for these huge games.'

Beckham flew straight to America after the Germany defeat to play for LA Galaxy the following day but he is expected to be rested on Sunday for his club.

'I got stronger,' he said after the Germany defeat.

'I needed minutes under my belt, I needed to play the full 90 minutes but didn't expect to. It was only my second in nine weeks.

'The last time I played two in two days was when I was nine years old!'

Boss McClaren has had an uneasy relationship with fans during his tenure but Beckham has backed England supporters to give their total backing next month.

He added: 'They know how to support us as players and as a team. There will be an electric atmosphere and they will be right behind us.

'They can only do that if we are winning games and playing well. That helps the fans and they help us in turn.'