When England step out against Iceland today, Hope Powell will be demanding sharper finishing from her team.
When England step out against Iceland at Peterborough this evening, National Coach Hope Powell will be demanding sharper finishing than her team displayed in last month’s 3-0 defeat by Nigeria.
England v Iceland
Peterborough United FC
14 May 2004, 7.30pm
After scoring nine goals in their previous three games England drew a blank against the Nigerian Super Falcons, despite creating far more goalscoring opportunities than the visitors at Reading’s Madejski Stadium.
Looking ahead to this evening's Nationwide women’s international, which will be her 50th as England coach since taking charge in 1998, Powell said: “We’ll have to be much better in front of goal this time round.
“We created 12 good chances against Nigeria and they created only three – but took all three. They were prepared to have a go, whereas we tried to dribble the ball into the net at times. The lesson’s simple - if you don’t shoot, you don’t score!
“The girls were obviously very disappointed when they came off the pitch, but we’ve discussed the plus-points from the game as well as analysing what went wrong and we’ll be looking to come up with a better all-round performance against Iceland.
“It will be as tough, as the two games against them were in the qualifying play-offs for last year’s World Cup Finals, but we came out on top over the two legs of the qualifier and hopefully we can get the right result again on Friday.”
As Powell’s team continue the build-up to next year’s European Championship Finals with what will be the first women’s international played at London Road, fringe players will get the chance to stake a claim for places in the Euro squad.
Several regulars are set to take part in The FA Nationwide Women’s Premier League title decider between Arsenal and Fulham less than 24 hours after the international, so Powell has agreed to use a number of players sparingly.
She said: “In respect to Arsenal and Fulham and to the importance of their League match, the England players who are going to be involved on Saturday won’t play any longer than 45 minutes on Friday evening.
“The exception to that will be Leanne Hall, the Fulham goalkeeper, who’ll probably get a longer stint. Everybody concerned will hopefully then be fresh for Saturday’s game, which should be quite a contest.
“What it means for the England team on Friday night is that some of the less experienced players will get a chance - that will be good for them and for me too in terms of seeing how they take their opportunity.
“We are in the process of preparing for Euro 2005 and although I feel I have the crux of the squad in place, there are still places up for grabs and players can certainly still force their way in.”
That will be good news for two players drafted into the current squad as replacements, Arsenal teenager Anita Asante and Doncaster Rovers Belles’ veteran Karen Burke coming in for the originally selected Rachel McArthur and Kelly McDougall.
Asante, who has impressed this season both in defence for Arsenal and in midfield for the England Under-19s, will be hoping to make her senior international debut while the evergreen Burke will be looking to add to her 69 caps.
Goalkeepers: Leanne Hall (Fulham), Toni-Anne Wayne (Bristol Rovers).
Defenders: Faye White, Leanne Champ, Kirsty Pealling, Anita Asante (all Arsenal), Mary Phillip, Rachel Unitt, (both Fulham), Casey Stoney (Charlton Athletic), Laura Bassett (Birmingham City).
Midfielders: Katie Chapman, Rachel Yankey (both Fulham), Vicky Exley, Jody Handley, Karen Burke (all Doncaster Rovers Belles), Sue Smith (Leeds United), Fara Williams (Charlton Athletic).
Strikers: Amanda Barr, Carmaine Walker (both Charlton Athletic), Kelly Smith (New Jersey Wildcats), Kristy Moore (Fløya, Norway), Ellen Maggs (Arsenal).
Tickets for the match, priced at £3 for adults and £1 for concessions, are on sale on the day of the game from the Peterborough United FC ticket office.
For further details check out TheFA.com or call 01733 563947.