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Last Updated: Saturday, 17 November 2007, 22:17 GMT
McClaren upbeat over Croatia tie
England manager Steve McClaren
McClaren wants the fans to show their support for England
England boss Steve McClaren says he is confident his side will get the result they need against Croatia at Wembley on Wednesday to qualify for Euro 2008.

England need the minimum of a draw to ensure a place in next summer's finals after Israel did them a favour by beating Russia on Saturday.

"It will be a difficult game," McClaren told the Football Association website.

"But I'm convinced we will get the result we need and will qualify for Austria and Switzerland."

England lead Russia, who play Andorra next Wednesday, by two points in Group E going into the final round of qualifiers.

Croatia have secured their Euro 2008 spot thanks to Israel's 2-1 win over Russia but they lost in Macedonia and could now be overtaken at the top of the group if England win by a two-goal margin.

606: DEBATE

McClaren's future would have been considered under threat if Russia had beaten Israel and England had been all-but eliminated going into the Croatia tie.

The reception from fans at Wembley if that had been the case was a matter of debate with the threat of supporters taking out their frustration by booing McClaren.

But the scenario has a different look to it now and McClaren issued a rallying call to fans for the sell-out game against Croatia at Wembley.

"It's back in our own hands now and we really need the whole country to get right behind the team over the next few days," said McClaren.

"We've got to get the result on the pitch on Wednesday, while we really want the fans to generate another really big Wembley atmosphere - just as they did against Russia."

McClaren's delight at Israel's performance in Tel Aviv was also plainly evident as he praised them for their professional performance.

I know we've made things difficult for ourselves by dropping points early on in the group

England boss Steve McClaren

"What a night! Absolutely fantastic news for us all," he said.

"I'd like to pay tribute to Israel for the professional way they went about the job - they showed what a proud nation they are and deserve a lot of praise for their efforts.

"I've said several times over the past few weeks that the campaign was never over until it was over and that I always believed it would come down to the Croatia match - thankfully it has.

"I watched the match with my family at the team hotel in Watford.

"All the coaching staff are also in the hotel, and as you can imagine we're all delighted qualification is back in our own hands.

"However, what's really important now is that we get the job done on Wednesday.

"I know we've made things difficult for ourselves by dropping points early on in the group, but we have played a lot better during the second half of the campaign and I've got every confidence the players will do the job at Wembley."



SEE ALSO
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