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Venables: England facing nightmare after Lampard injury

Losing Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard for their crunch Euro2008 qualifiers is a nightmare for England, admits assistant coach Terry Venables.

Lampard broke down with a shock thigh injury and will now miss next week's must-win double-header against Israel and Russia.

Venables said: "The news keeps getting worse and worse - it's a nightmare that just isn't stopping."

Lampard tore his left thigh in Blues training and yesterday said that the injury was "extremely painful".

But the hurt was felt even more acutely in the England camp - already decimated by injury to 14 key players.

England No 2 Venables groaned: "I just can't believe it. We keep trying to put a brave face on it - but every day seems to bring more and more bad news.

"I feel so sorry for Frank, too. Not only was he in great form for Chelsea but I honestly think his last three games for England have been among his best ever."

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