England's narrow 1-0 defeat to France meant that the Senior Women's team fell ju
England's narrow 1-0 defeat to France meant that the Senior Women's team fell just short of reaching the 2003 World Cup finals in China. However, the Football Association's Head of Women's Football Karen Doyle is determined to keep up the excellent progress made in the women's game so far.
Indeed, Karen believes that the recent winning of the right to host Euro 2005 will provide the boost needed to lift the women's game to the next level; this despite the fact that England may not have another competitive match until those 2005 Championships.
"Since the announcement, there's been a lot of interest from the men's clubs wanting to help stage the tournament or to be involved in some way," she explained.
"For a championship of this magnitude, you can see the clubs thinking this would be good to get involved in and that's very positive. It is also a reflection of the growing interest from the men's clubs for women's football."
Karen also disagrees with the thought that without a competitive match for the next two and a half years the game will struggle to retain the momentum it has gained following recent success in Euro 2001 and this strong World Cup campaign.
"Promoting the women's game has always been based not only on the England team but right through the Premier League, down through the pyramid and to the grass roots," she said.
"That certainly won't change and Euro 2005 can have an impact right through that chain."
Incresed media coverage has been important in raising the profile of women's football and Karen admitted that the only way to get the most out of hosting a tournament of this magnitute is for the FA to ensure that games and players on shown on television.
"The television coverage will be very important. As the first major championship in this country we'd be hopeful there will be a lot of media interest.
"What was interesting on Saturday was that the crowd was made up not only of families and kids but also traditional football fans and it created a fabulous atmosphere.
"There were people there who had maybe never been to a women's match who clearly enjoyed it sufficiently to return, you'd think.
"They really made an event of it, with the tannoy officer whipping the crowd up.
"The crowd starting shouting (Marinette) Pichon's name and that shows how, with the personalities in your team, fans will latch on. That underlines the importance of bringing out the personalities."