4. EURO '08: Support for England's 'Sven lite'

By Paul Kennedy

A match against tiny Andorra Wednesday in Euro 2008 qualifying should put an end to England's scoring drought, but a big win will hardly lessen the pressure on embattled England coach Steve McClaren.

The Football Association offered its support Tuesday to McClaren, who has taken the brunt of the criticism for England's slow start in Euro '08 qualifying.

"We have been with the squad throughout the past week and it is obvious to us just how hard Steve and his coaching staff are working to get results," Noel White and David Richards, who head the FA's international committee. "We would once again like to offer our full support to Steve and all the team."

England's 0-0 tie at Israel on Saturday left it five points behind Group E leader Croatia and three points behind second-place Russia, both winners on Saturday. The 0-0 tie was England's fifth straight game without a victory. England has scored only one goal in the last five games, representing its worst scoring run in more than a quarter-century.

McClaren, who replaced Sven Goran-Eriksson after the 2006 World Cup, denied reports that he clashed with star Wayne Rooney after the Israel game and Rooney stormed out of the locker room.

"It is an absolute load of rubbish," McClaren told Sky Sports News. "I don't read many newspapers, but what I have been hearing and there are two or three things which are an absolute load of rubbish. People are just trying to stir things and we are angry and disappointed about them."

Following the game, the British tabloids featured headlines such as "Roo-volt" (Daily Mirror), "Price we pay for Sven lite" (Daily Mail) and "Hell Aviv" (The Sun).

"I think the players have got to take a lot of responsibility for the manager taking it in the neck," England star Steven Gerrard said Tuesday. "It's us who are going out there and under-performing, under-achieving if you like."

WEDNESDAY'S SCHEDULE:
GROUP A

Azerbaijan-Finland
Poland-Armenia (TV: PPV-Setanta, live, 2:25 pm ET)
Serbia-Portugal (TV: Setanta Sports USA, live, 3:10 pm ET)
GROUP B
Ukraine-Lithuania
Georgia-Faeroe Islands
Italy-Scotland (TV: RAI International, live, 2:25 pm ET)
GROUP C
Turkey-Norway (TV: Setanta Sports USA, live, 2 pm ET)
Malta-Greece (TV: PPV-Setanta, live, 1:25 pm ET)
Hungary-Moldova
GROUP D
Wales-San Marino
Ireland-Slovakia (TV: Setanta Sports USA, live, 2:25 pm)
Czech Republic-Cyprus (TV: Fox Soccer Channel, delay, 3 pm ET)
GROUP E
Andorra-England (TV: Setanta Sports USA, live, 2:55 pm)
Israel-Estonia (TV: Fox Soccer Channel, delay, 1 pm ET)
GROUP F
Northern Ireland v Sweden
Liechtenstein v Latvia
GROUP G
Slovenia v Netherlands
Romania v Luxembourg
Bulgaria v Albania
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