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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 November 2007, 12:43 GMT
Micah Richards column
Micah Richards
By Micah Richards
Manchester City and England defender

It will not be enjoyable but I will be watching the Israel-Russia game on Saturday night. I just have to.

I get the weekend off after England fly back from Friday's friendly with Austria - I don't have to report back to the squad until 10pm on Sunday - so I will be watching on TV at home.

There is nothing I can do except hope and pray that Israel pick up at least a point.

It is not nice to be relying on what other people are doing for us to qualify for the Euro 2008 finals but I am sure Israel will give it a good go.

Micah Richards was back in action against Portsmouth on Sunday
It was important for me to be back in action for Manchester City against Portsmouth on Sunday after my knee injury and I have not suffered any ill-effects.

We know ourselves how difficult it is to go there - we only got a 0-0 draw - and hopefully they can do the same against Russia and we can beat Croatia on 21 November.

Depending on what happens elsewhere, it is still possible that we can go through with a draw but we have to focus on getting a victory at Wembley.

The memory of our defeat in Russia is still painful but that is now in the past and we have to concentrate on the task in front of us.

There has been a lot of speculation about coach Steve McClaren's future if we don't make it - the English media can be very harsh - but that is not something I am thinking about right now.

There is still a lot to play for and it is not impossible that we can make it. We just have to concentrate on qualifying.

We have to stay positive. If we had an away game as our last qualifier then it might be a different story but we seem to be a different team at home and we are confident that we can keep that up.

Our last three qualifiers at Wembley were all must-win games. We won all of those and it is the same again this time, we have to produce.

We will have to go out there and play our game, block everything else out, try to get the three points and hopefully that will be enough.

Friday's friendly with Austria will be a chance to test a few things out ahead of the Croatia game, which is the big one.

With John Terry's injury and Rio Ferdinand being suspended, I could be asked to play at centre-back and I would feel more than comfortable to play there.


As I have said previously, I do not mind whether I play at right-back or in the middle and if the manager asks me to play somewhere then I will always give 100%.

The main thing in that game will be to stay injury free. I have already mentioned we have JT and Rio out, as well as Wayne Rooney, so any more injuries would be a real blow - we have to make sure we stay fit and fresh.

On that note, it was important for me to be back in action for Manchester City against Portsmouth on Sunday after my knee injury and I have not suffered any ill-effects.

We knew Pompey would be tough opponents and a draw was a good result for us.

In a few of the games he has played for us, our goalkeeper Joe Hart has not had much to do and in the Chelsea game he could do hardly anything about their goals.

But on Sunday he showed why he is number one. He was excellent, not only his shot-stopping but his communication to the rest of the defence as well.

  • Micah Richards was talking to Chris Bevan

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