Prime Minister Tony Blair has sent a good luck message to the England Women's te
Prime Minister Tony Blair has sent a good luck message to the England Women's team ahead of their World Cup Play-Off Final clash with France in Saint Etienne this Saturday. England are just one game away from the 16-nation FIFA 2003 World Cup Finals, which take place in China in September, but are trailing 0-1 from the home leg. The Prime Minister said: "I am sure the whole country would want to join me in wishing the team the best of luck. It will be a tough match but we will all be rooting for you."
"Women's Football has come a long way in recent years and I'm certain that will continue. No matter what the final result, I'm sure the team will show no shortage of flair, courage and commitment on Saturday."
National Coach Hope Powell will be hoping that the remainder of her squad are fully fit for the match, with three of her key players unavailable for the fixture - Faye White, Kelly Smith (both cruciate ligament) and Katie Chapman (pregnancy).
England men's Coach Sven Goran Eriksson has also pledged his support to the team, saying: "I would like to wish Hope Powell and her team all the very best luck for the game. We played in the World Cup in the summer and it is the place where everybody wants to be. It would be a great experience and a good achievement for the Women to reach their World Cup next year."
England play France in the second leg of the Play-Off Final at the Geoffroy Guichard Stadium, Saint Etienne, at 3.00pm local time. The stadium was the site of England men's exit from the 1998 World Cup to Argentina on penalties. A 2-1 victory for the Women would see England qualify for the September 2003 Finals on away goals, but should England win 1-0 (to draw 1-1 on aggregate) the game will go to 30 minutes of golden goal extra time and possibly penalties.