[EURO 2008 QUALIFYING]
England was 21 minutes away from clinching a berth in the 2008 European Championship when it collapsed in "five minutes of madness" and
lost to Russia, 2-1, in Moscow.
The loss took England's chances of qualifying out of its hands. It will probably need to beat Group D leader Croatia in their final game on Nov. 21 and hope
Russia doesn't win both of its final two games on the road against Andorra and Israel.
England was 1-0 up at the Luzhniki Stadium in the 69th minute when Wayne Rooney
, scorer of the England goal, was called for a dubious penalty awarded by Spaniard Luis Medina Cantalejo
for a tug on Konstantin Zyrianov
that appeared to take place outside the penalty area. Roman Pavlyuchenko
converted the penalty
kick and then scored again four minutes later to leave England facing elimination.
"We were in control and never looked in any danger," a stunned England coach Steve McClaren
said. "It was in our grasp and we've ended up losing it. I've just seen the penalty again and it's an absolute disgrace."
McClaren insisted the foul was outside
"It was five minutes of madness that cost us the game but there are 12 games in this group, not 11," McClaren added. "I am very disappointed, the players are devastated, our fate
is out of our hands now but it's not over yet."
Scotland was rolling after wins over France and Ukraine, but it lost at Georgia, 2-0, on goals by 17-year-old Levan Mchedlidze
, who plays for Serie A's Empoli, and David Siradze
and dropped to second place behind France in Group B.
will probably need to beat Italy on Nov. 17 to have any chance of qualifying.