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Last Updated: Saturday, 8 September 2007, 17:49 GMT 18:49 UK
England 3-0 Israel
By Mandeep Sanghera

England winger Shaun Wright-Phillips puts England ahead against Israel in his side's 3-0 win at Wembley
Wright-Phillips volleys in to set England on their way to victory
England produced a fine display to brush aside Israel in their Euro 2008 qualifier at Wembley.

A sidefooted Shaun Wright-Phillips volley from Joe Cole's slanted cross to the far post put England ahead as they took command of the tie.

Michael Owen swivelled on the spot and brilliantly unleashed a precise 18-yard strike to extend the home side's lead.

Israel did not even force a save out of keeper Paul Robinson as Micah Richards headed in a corner to complete the win.

The relief at the end of the game was in stark contrast to the jangling nerves beforehand.


Injuries to key players and England's precarious position in Group E had added even more pressure on to the team's shoulders, with the visitors hoping to capitalise.

Israel predictably sat back in numbers right from the start and set England the challenge of finding a way through their heavily banked lines.

Steve McClaren's side threatened early on with Emile Heskey, whose last game for England was in a loss to France at Euro 2004, playing a prominent role.

His strength in the air almost released Owen on goal and Heskey's physical prowess and hold-up play gave England a vital attacking option.

England striker Michael Owen celebrates his goal in the 3-0 win over Israel
Owen scored a spectacular goal for his 38th goal for England

Heskey should have scored when, in a role reversal, he was set up by Owen but blazed a clear strike at goal high.

But, just when it seemed Israel had weathered the opening assault, Wright-Phillips coolly applied the finishing touch to a Joe Cole cross to the far post to ease England's nerves.

The trickery and tirelessness of Wright-Phillips and the creativity of Joe Cole helped a confident-looking England create a regular flow of chances - and they could have been further ahead before the break.

Joe Cole laid the ball off to Owen to leave the striker with only the keeper to beat but his angled shot hit Dudu Auoate and his sliced rebound effort spun wide.

Owen released Ashley Cole on goal as England dominated and his strike went was saved, with Israel fortunate to be only one down at half-time.

But England turned their superiority into goals as Owen, with his back to goal, took a touch to gather a Gareth Barry pass before turning on the spot and arrowing in a shot.

Israel were short of ideas and fell further behind when Richards nodded in from the impressive Barry's cross after 66 minutes as England cruised to a first win at the new Wembley.

With 20 minutes left, McClaren had the luxury of taking off Steven Gerrard, who was suffering from cramp, because England have another crucial qualifier against Russia looming on Wednesday.

Russia are second in Group E, one point ahead of England, and two points behind leaders Croatia.

England: Robinson, Richards, Ferdinand, Terry, Ashley Cole, Wright-Phillips (Bentley 83), Gerrard (Neville 71), Barry, Joe Cole, Heskey (Johnson 71), Owen.
Subs Not Used: Brown, James, Downing, Defoe.

Booked: Terry.

Goals: Wright-Phillips 20, Owen 49, Richards 66.

Israel: Aouate, Spungin, Ben-Haim, Gershon, Ziv, Benayoun, Badir, Benado (Golan 57), Tal, Katan (Zandberg 73), Itzhaki (Tamuz 46).
Subs Not Used: Antebi, Balili, Alberman, Davidovitch.

Booked: Gershon, Benado, Ziv, Aouate.

Att: 85,372

Ref: Pieter Vink (Holland).

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