RAMAT GAN, Israel -- England's bid to qualify for next year's European Championship is still alive.
Israel beat Russia 2-1 Saturday night, preventing the Russians from climbing past the English into second place in Group E with one game remaining.
Russia had put itself in control of gaining a berth with a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over England in Moscow last month. But now England can qualify with a tie or victory on Wednesday against first-place Croatia at Wembley.
Croatia (8-1-2) clinched a berth because of Israel's win despite a 2-0 loss at Macedonia and leads with 26 points, followed by England (7-2-2) with 23. Russia (6-2-3) is third with 21 but England has the tiebreaker because of a better goal difference in its two games against the Russians.
Russia could have virtually eliminated England by beating Israel but now win at last-place Andorra on Wednesday and hope the English lose.
"Of course we are very, very disappointed," Russia coach Guus Hiddink said. "We were close. We were the team who was dominating the game."
The English enter Wednesday's game missing Wayne Rooney, Michael Owen and John Terry because of injuries and Rio Ferdinand due to a suspension.
Elyaniv Barda gave Israel the lead in 10th minute, but Diniyar Bilyaletdinov tied it in the 61st. Dmitry Sychev, who entered early in the second half, nearly put Russia ahead in the 90th, but his shot hit a post. Omer Golan then just stayed onside when he took a pass in second-half injury time and scored the tiebreaking goal.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press