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Shakira's advice for Pique

The Toe Poke
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By ESPN Staff

Buoyant McClaren targets Russia victory

Steve McClaren called for an action replay on Wednesday against Russia after seeing his England side demolish Israel at Wembley . Goals from Shaun Wright-Phillips, Michael Owen and Micah Richards gave England a 3-0 victory which boosts their hopes of qualifying for Euro 2008.

And after seeing Emile Heskey and Gareth Barry also star in the best England performance of his 12 month reign McClaren said: 'I'm delighted. It was important to win, I would have taken 1-0, I'm pleased with three but disappointed we did not score more but the performance was the icing on the cake. They played very well today. 'They made Israel look ordinary. I'm sure Russia will watch our video and not relish coming to Wembley on that performance. 'We made it a comfortable win against a difficult side. Russia will be as tough and we need the same performance. We've set a standard and have to do it again on Wednesday.'' McClaren saw the display, which lifts his side to third place in Group E behind Croatia and Russia, as vindication of his faith in players who had filled the void cause by England's long list of injuries. He insisted: 'I said we had players in that dressing room who were good enough. The likes of Gareth Barry were excellent. So were Shaun Wright-Phillips and Emile Heskey coming in and doing the job we wanted him to do. 'Barry has quality and showed he could handle the stage, the big occasion. 'Emile makes defenders defend. No one likes playing against him. His attitude and work rate was the main thing. He and Michael Owen combined well and always have done. 'Emile has found a good home in Wigan. They treat him well. Players get opportunities and they have got to take it. Barry, Wright-Phillips and Heskey have done.'' McClaren is hoping Owen Hargreaves will be fit for Wednesday but admitted Frank Lampard was 'struggling.'' Steven Gerrard, who played without a pain-killing injection in his fractured toe, was substituted in the second-half after suffering from cramp. Owen's return to form was also a big positive and McClaren agreed that he could still break Sir Bobby Charlton's England goal-scoring record. The Newcastle striker's half-volley was his 38th for his country. McClaren said: 'It was a great goal today. I'm delighted for him. There has been a lot of criticism and pressure on him. Typical Michael Owen, he answers it with three goals in three games.'' Meanwhile, Israel manager Dror Kashtan criticised Dutch referee Peter Vink, insisting England's first goal was offside and the third followed a foul on goalkeeper Dudu Aouate. He also claimed Mr Vink made an objectionable remark to Israel, Liverpool midfielder captain Yossi Benayoun, but would not elaborate on what it was. Kashtan said: 'Obviously there were gaps between us and England and there are massive gaps between Israel football and English football. 'That was evident here today. But we conceded a goal which was clear offside and then one from a clear foul on our goalkeeper and then the referee was giving free-kicks all the time to our opponents on the edge of area. 'He also used certain sentences to our captain which are not worthy of an official. These are not excuses, these are simple facts. Kashtan, however, praised England's physical presence, especially that of Heskey. 'It was tough containing Emile Heskey,'' he said. 'He was knocking balls down to Owen and Gerrard all the time. 'Our players had an off-day today. England prevented us from going forward. We did not have a clear-cut chance.'' He was not, however, conceding defeat in the battle for qualification. 'We still stand a chance with three games to play,'' he said. 'England have to play Russia twice and face Croatia. In football you can never predict the future but we have to improve on our display today against a side with so many great players in it.''