England Women’s captain says the Three Lions can be upbeat after draw with France
France 2-2 England
A Women’s International
7.50pm BST, Saturday 20 October 2012
Charlety Stadium, Paris
Live on BBC Three
by Glenn Lavery
Casey Stoney believes there are plenty of positives to take from England’s 2-2 draw with France on Saturday.
Bruno Bini’s side enjoyed more of the ball and created more chances, certainly in the first half, but England went in at the break 2-0 ahead courtesy of a goal apiece from Steph Houghton and Jill Scott.
The Three Lions began the second half a lot brighter than the first although they were unable to wrestle possession from the French for a prolonged spell.
The hosts continued to test Karen Bardsley in the England goal and Marie Delie’s brace eventually restored parity, but both goals came from defensive errors.
And captain Stoney believes her side have reasons to feel satisfied following the result.
She said: "We didn't lose the game and there were lots of positives to take.
“We gave two goals away, and against a team as good as France you just can't afford to do that.
“But apart from those incidents our defending under pressure was immense, and in the second half when we were more on the front foot we opened them up a lot more than we have done before.
“And going in 2-0 up at half-time will give us a bit of a psychological boost. We know we gave them two goals, so it's a massive learning curve for us.”
Saturday’s game in Paris was England’s first since they qualified for the European Championship Finals and the next nine months will be geared towards Sweden 2013, the draw for which will be made on Friday 9 November.
Hope Powell will take her side to La Manga in January for a training camp, followed by participation in the annual Cyprus Cup in March.
England finished runners-up to Germany at Euro 2009, while France knocked them out of the 2011 World Cup at the quarter-final stage.
Stoney is already focused on the Euros and insists her team-mates will be all set come next July.
She added: "It will be tough whoever we face at the group stage, but we will be well prepared and ready for the tournament.
“We did brilliantly to reach the Final in 2009, and after going so close to reaching the World Cup semi-final we'll be aiming to make our mark again in Sweden.”