England captain Karen Walker is confident that her team-mates can beat Iceland
England captain Karen Walker is confident that her team-mates can beat Iceland this weekend...without her
England captain Karen Walker is confident that her team-mates can beat Iceland this weekend to set up a mouthwatering World Cup play-off final clash against France.
Walker, who is suspended from the game after picking up her second yellow card of the campaign in Monday’s first leg draw in Iceland, thinks England will definitely go through at St Andrews on Sunday.
"Obviously I'm devastated to be missing the game, but it's life," she told TheFA.com.
"I definitely think the girls can do it and I'm just looking forward to the France games now.
"I didn't know until the team met up again in Birmingham on Tuesday that I was suspended and it was confirmed yesterday morning by UEFA. It seems such a long time ago since I was booked against Holland and I honestly had no idea when I got yellow-carded on Monday. My absence will just give someone else a chance now and I'm sure the girls will do well."
Walker was booked for a challenge in the 2-2 draw in Iceland in the first leg of this World Cup play-off semi-final. Her other booking came in England's 4-1 win in Holland in their World Cup Qualifying Group Four match in April.
Despite England progressing to the second qualifying phase and playing their EIGHTH qualifying game on Sunday, in their efforts to reach the 2003 World Cup Finals, two bookings still mean a one-game suspension must be served. England will have a two away goal-advantage going into the second leg game against Iceland, being played at Birmingham City FC's St Andrews game on Sunday.
National Coach Hope Powell has named her replacement captain as Faye White, the Arsenal central defender, who previously took the armband in England's friendly defeat against Nigeria in July. She will be England's third captain in a year because Tara Proctor, captain going into the 2001-02 season, has missed several internationals due to a knee injury and recently due to a family bereavement.
Powell will now consider her options for her forward line before Sunday's game. The experienced Walker's absence is a critical blow to the team, due to her ratio of 40 goals in 78 international appearances after hitting a brace in Iceland earlier this week. Her Doncaster Belles team-mate Jody Handley may get a chance, although Fulham forward Una Nwajei made a substitute's appearance in the away game.
Tickets can be purchased by calling the Birmingham City ticket hotline on 0121 772 0101 ext 5. Entry will be priced at £3 for adults and £1 for children before the day, with prices going up to £5/£1 on matchday. There will also be a special family ticket, priced at £5, for up to two adults and three children.