England manager Fabio Capello is refusing to get carried away with thoughts of qualifying for the 2010 World Cup finals despite watching his side record a fourth successive victory.
England’s 3-1 win over Belarus in Minsk means they have won the opening four qualifiers in the FIFA competition for the first time.
But Capello has his feet firmly planted on the ground despite England currently topping their qualifying group by five points.
“I think it’s a very important victory,” said Capello. “I said before the game that this would be a hard game having seen the way Belarus had played against Argentina, Germany and the Ukraine and I meant it.
“It’s a good three points and we are in a good position in the group now. But it is just three points and it is only one step further. This, for me, must be remembered.
“The good for me is we have the style and the confidence now. The confidence is the most important thing if you want to win.”
Wayne Rooney has now scored five times in his last three appearances for his country and he again formed an effective partnership with Emile Heskey. But Capello chose to emphasise the quality of the team performance rather than any individual.
He said: “Yes, I think Heskey and Rooney did very well and the movement of both is very good. They are quick, they are strong and they know how to play good football together very well.
“Rooney is a very important player for us and is playing very well at the moment. He is having a ‘magic’ time at the moment.
“But it was not only Rooney. Heskey and (Steven) Gerrard played very well. (Wayne) Bridge played very well, also the defending midfielder. This was about how we played like a team.
“Belarus played well and it’s not easy to play against them, but we were compact. We played like a group.
“It is not about relying on one or two players creating something. It a team performance. That is important to me.”
Belarus coach Bernd Stange admitted: “It was a very hard game for us and the second goal for England broke us totally.
“We don’t have players like at clubs like Chelsea or Liverpool, or Everton but the game we produced in the first half was something we should be proud of.
“The first half we played was the best we’ve ever produced in Minsk – but it was not good enough to beat England.
“They are stronger, better and with physical strength. They had too much power for us. That’s why it was so difficult.”