Stand-in England captain Steven Gerrard accepted that he and his team-mates had to shoulder the blame for the 2-1 Euro 2008 qualifying defeat in Russia. A Wayne Rooney volley had put England on course for a finals place, before a second-half Roman Pavlyuchenko double gave Russia the win and left Steve McClaren's side in danger of missing out altogether.
England's fate will now be sealed if Russia win in Israel and then see off minnows Andorra in their final two games.
Gerrard said: "I can't believe it is out of our hands, because we have worked so hard over the last five or six games to put ourselves in the driving seat and make ourselves favourites to go through.
"We went 1-0 up and you start believing you are nearly there, that you have got one foot in the finals, but football is a cruel game.
"Chances and decisions and mistakes turn football matches and that is what has happened, but for us not to make the finals will be unthinkable. As players and staff we've got to take the responsibility for that.
"However, it is important that we don't give up. We are waiting on other people to do us favours, but as players we've got to stick together, focus and believe to the end.
"Israel are capable of getting a result against Russia, but, with them not being able to qualify, it's certainly a difficult situation."