Watched the match on Saturday and was quite pleased. I know that it was only against Israel and they didn't put up much of a fight, but the team played well for the first time in a long time and the three points was very welcome. As much as I dislike McClown and would like to see him out of a job, I don't want England to miss Euro 2008. Watching a tournament without your team is just not the same.
I can't help but think that the injuries and suspensions actually helped the team. If Lampard had been fit, we would almost definitely have seen the unworkable Lampard / Gerrard combo in midfield yet again, with Rio and JT banging countless long balls up to Peter Crouch.
It was a brave decision to pick Emile Heskey, but perhaps the biggest surprise for me was the selection of Gareth Barry in central midfield. I would probably have gone with Michael Carrick, but to be fair, Gareth Barry played a blinder.
It was good to see little Mickey Owen get a goal, although he still looks half the player he was. But he is getting better, the more he plays. And it's good to see Subbuteo's Shaun Wright-Phillips finally start to replicate his Man City form for his country.
The Russians will prove a much harder task, not least because it's away. I hope we win, but it's going to be a lot tougher. And it leaves McClown with some difficult decisions, particularly if Lampard is fit again and as Crouchigol is no longer suspended. Does he stick with the team that did so well? Or does he go with his first choice team?
Either way, he's on a hiding to nothing unless we win and anything less than three points would be a disaster.