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England boss McClaren banking on Israel fair

England are hoping Israel "play fair" with them by giving 100 per cent against Russia in Tel Aviv on Nov 17, according to a source close to the England dressing room.

Steve McClaren, the England manager, has already pleaded with Israel, who cannot qualify for Euro 2008, to "do us a favour against Russia", knowing that is the only chance England have of reaching Austria and Switzerland next summer following their 2-1 defeat in Moscow on Wednesday.

If Guus Hiddink's side overcome Israel and Andorra (on Nov 21), taking them to 27 points in Group E, England will miss out on Euro 2008 and McClaren will lose his job. England have one game left, at Wembley against Croatia on Nov 21, and can reach only 26 points.

Concerns are being expressed within the England camp about Roman Abramovich's close relationship with both Israel and Russia.

No one in the England camp is suggesting Abramovich would place any pressure on Israel to let his native Russia qualify, but one England source said: "We just want Israel to play fair by us."

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