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Dutch and England cruise, Hiddink lifts Russia

THE Netherlands and England continued churning out victories in their 2010 World Cup qualification campaigns on Wednesday while Serbia took another big step towards next year's finals in South Africa.

Russia was also impressive as coach Guus Hiddink returned to his international duties to inspire a 3-0 victory in Finland that will keep Germany on its toes.

The Dutch, who on Saturday became the first European nation to book their place at next year's tournament, dispatched Norway 2-0 in Rotterdam to make it seven wins from seven in Group 9.

Andre Ooijer and Arjen Robben were both on target.

Nearly 60,000 England fans defied a strike which badly disrupted London's underground system to watch a 6-0 thrashing of Andorra in Group 6, England's biggest win at Wembley for nearly 10 years.

England has a maximum 21 points, although it still needs one more victory to rubber-stamp its qualification for the finals.

Wayne Rooney and Jermain Defoe both struck twice for Fabio Capello's side with Frank Lampard and Peter Crouch also on target.

"The mood is very good in this squad," David Beckham, who started an England match for the 100th time, told ITV. "It's easy to say that when you're winning but it was like that before we started this campaign."

Rooney, meanwhile, has set his sights on becoming his country's leading goalscorer. The Manchester United forward took his tally to 24 from 54 appearances before being substituted at halftime. His 10 goals in his last seven internationals, suggests that he could overhaul the long-standing record of 49 set by Bobby Charlton.

"If I could beat Charlton's record, it would be a great achievement and I do have that record in mind," Rooney told the BBC. "I have been delighted with the way the scoring has gone for me in the last few games and this has been my best season with England. I have always said that I have never based my game on goals alone."

"I love playing and getting on the ball and getting involved in the game and I am doing that - with the goals coming on top of that as well.

"Hopefully, the goals will continue but we are performing as a team and I believe we have one foot in the World Cup finals."

England now boasts a 10-point lead over second-placed Croatia and Ukraine, which scraped to a 2-1 victory over Kazakhstan to keep alive its hopes of finishing in the runners-up spot and earn a playoff against another second-placed nation.

Serbia is looking increasingly likely to qualify automatically as group winners after a 2-0 win in the Faroe Islands extended its lead over France at the top of Group 7 to eight points, although France has two games in hand. Milan Jovanovic and Neven Subotic scored for the Serbians whose next match is at home to France in September.

Hiddink watched his Russia side thump Finland in Helsinki to put the pressure on Group 4 leader Germany which was not in action.

Alexander Kerzhakov's double moved Russia on to 15 points from six matches, one behind Germany.

Sweden hit back from its weekend defeat at home to Denmark with a 4-0 defeat of Malta in Gothenburg, although its chances of snatching even the runners-up spot in Group 1 remain remote.


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