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Wednesday, April 22, 1998 Published at 09:12 GMT 10:12 UK


Le Tissier hat-trick fires England B
image: [ Le Tissier may have forced his way into Hoddle's reckoning with this performance ]
Le Tissier may have forced his way into Hoddle's reckoning with this performance

The England B team gave Glenn Hoddle the kind of problems he craves by securing an impressive 4-1 victory over Russia B.

Three of England's goals came from Matt Le Tissier, the Southampton midfielder whose previous England appearance had incurred the wrath of the nation with fans pointing the finger at him for England's defeat against Italy at Wembley.

But the enigmatic skills of Le Tissier shone through at Loftus Road and he may have pressed his claim for a place in the England World Cup squad.

Les Ferdinand, England B's captain, put England ahead against a far from impressive Russian team. From then on Le Tissier showed why a posse of his south-coast fans had arrived at the match with a banner pleading: "Please pick Le God, Hod."

With the departure from the pitch of Les Ferdinand, Le Tissier wore the captain's armband. It fired him on with perhaps his best effort of the night, a tremendous solo effort in which he slalomed past three would-be tacklers before planting the ball in the bottom corner of the Russian net.

Scotland coach Craig Brown has the reverse problem to his English counterpart after his B team were outplayed by the Norwegian B team. Several of his fringe players ruled themselves out of his reckoning for France '98 after the 2-1 defeat.

Norway played a team of under 23s, but were well worth the victory with goals from Bjarte Lunde Aarsheim and substitute Thorstein Helstad. Scotland's reply also had an air of farce. Hearts Neil McCann earned a penalty which he took himself, but he saw his weak effort easily saved. Hibernian's Steven Crawford scored from the follow up.

Of the players on show, only Leeds' David Hopkin and the Celtic pair of Jonathon Gould and Tosh McKinlay remain in contention for France 98, but none of that trio were outstanding either.

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