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Tootle's 'slug' goal celebration

The Toe Poke
By ESPN Staff

Neville: We need a maximum six points

Gary Neville admits that anything less than a maximum points haul from England's next two Euro 2008 qualifiers with Israel and Andorra will not be acceptable.

Steve McClaren's side visit Tel Aviv on March 24 and tackle Andorra in Barcelona four days later knowing that their hopes of reaching the finals in Austria and Switzerland hang in the balance.

Neville knows the position could become insurmountable if England fail to collect six points and they would then be in real danger of not reaching a major tournament for the first time since the 1994 World Cup.

But the Manchester United defender has faith in the squad to come through the current mini-crisis of four games without a victory following Spain's 1-0 win at Old Trafford yesterday.

It is England's worst sequence of results since they went five matches without a win between October 2003 and June 2004 although that run included creditable away draws with Turkey - to clinch a place at Euro 2004 - and Portugal.

Neville said: 'We've got no God-given right to qualify and there is a danger if we lose games and drop points of that [missing out] happening but it's in our own hands.

'We have got enough games and points left to be able to correct that. We have got to put it right and I do believe we will and it all starts next month.

'We've got to start putting the results against Croatia and Macedonia in the autumn behind us by winning the two games next month. I don't think anything less than two victories will be acceptable for us.

'We've got to win against Israel and Andorra. If we don't we will be in trouble in terms of qualifying but I genuinely believe we have got a good group of players and there are fine lines between winning and not winning.

'Against Spain it could easily have been a 1-0 win for England but at the moment things are not quite going for us. I think it will start going for us if we work hard, keeping plugging away and training hard.'

Israel have a formidable home record but Neville believes England will be boosted by the return of key players such as skipper John Terry and star striker Wayne Rooney after injury.

England lacked a cutting edge against Spain in the absence of Rooney with Peter Crouch, who has scored 11 times since arriving on the international scene, failing to create a favourable impression.

Neville said: 'People like Wayne and John are important players - particularly Wayne because of his creativity and it was our attacking play which was probably the disappointing part against Spain.

'Israel will be a tough game and there will be a completely different atmosphere and level of importance attached to that match compared to the Spain game, even though we wanted to put on a good display.

'The preparation will also be different. This was a friendly game crammed in between tough Premier League fixtures so you have got players not preparing in the same manner because you only have one or two days together.

'Next month we will have something like six days preparation ahead of the Israel game, we will be a lot fresher, and hopefully we can take our chances and that will make the difference.'