Rachel Yankey says England have the firepower to beat New Zealand in the Cyprus Cup
England v New Zealand
12.30pm GMT, Monday 11 March 2013
by Glenn Lavery
Rachel Yankey believes England can continue their goalscoring form against New Zealand on Monday.
Hope Powell’s side have scored eight goals in just two Cyprus Cup matches and they need to beat the ‘Football Ferns’ to make it to the final of this annual friendly competition.
The Three Lions defeated Italy 4-2 last Wednesday before playing out an entertaining 4-4 draw with Scotland on Friday.
New Zealand, meanwhile, have won both of their group matches so far.
Yankey said of England’s opponents: “They have won two from two and they will probably want revenge for us beating them in the World Cup a couple of years ago so it’s definitely going to be difficult.
“They haven’t conceded a goal yet either so we will have to work hard to break them down.
“Having said that, we have looked good in front of goal, both in our games and in training, so we’re confident we can get on the scoresheet.
“And the good thing is that we’re scoring goals from all over the pitch, we’re not just relying on one or two players.”
As Yankey alluded to, England’s eight strikes have come via seven different goalscorers. But the winger, her country’s record caps holder, acknowledges a need to tighten up in defence.
She added: “The Scotland game was crazy. Every shot just seemed to go in. I thought we played well in patches but we can improve defensively ahead of New Zealand.
“It’s good that we’ve scored four goals in both games but we know we need to shore things up at the back.”
Yankey and co. must defeat Tony Readings’s side to have any chance of winning the tournament – and the last time they did so, in 2009, they went on to reach the final of that summer’s European Championship.
And the 33-year-old knows a similar outcome this year could have the same impact again, with Sweden 2013 just four months away.
Yankey explained: “These matches are helping us prepare for the Euros and we want to go to Sweden in good shape.
“Getting to this final can only help us in terms of confidence and belief that we can get to the latter stages of tournaments, so that has to be our incentive going into Monday’s game."