Powell taking nothing for granted
Glenn Lavery in Izmir
Wednesday, 25 November, 2009
Women’s Head Coach eyes three points from qualifier against Turkey
Hope Powell has urged her side to remain focused ahead of their second World Cup qualifier, in Turkey.
England face a side 49 places below them in the FIFA world rankings, a side who were beaten 5-0 by Spain in their opening qualifier on Saturday, but Powell says her team will not be taking Turkey lightly.
Her squad has been hampered by injury and illness, namely to Rachel Brown, Lindsay Johnson and Jill Scott, prompting the England Head Coach to predict an opportunity for some younger players, but three points is still very much the required outcome.
“We want to win the game first and foremost,” she declared.
“It’s disappointing to be without those players, but it provides an opportunity for others. Hopefully the players that come in will do well.
“It’s a game that we’re expected to win and we know that,” Powell continued. “Looking at Turkey’s recent match against Spain, it was 0-0 at half-time and Turkey were doing quite well until they conceded the first goal, so they will try and make it difficult for us, but we can’t assume anything.
“We can’t assume that we will go out and beat Turkey when a ball hasn’t even been kicked yet. We will try and play our game. It would be great to get an early goal, but what we mustn’t do is concede an early goal, because if Turkey score they could shut up shop and make it very difficult for us to get back into the game.”
England’s opening qualifier saw them run out comfortable 8-0 victors over Malta in October and Powell then was also aware of England’s perceived superiority, and although her charges produced a competent eight-goal display she concedes that they will have to be more accurate in front of goal if they are to reduce Spain’s already significant goal difference after the Iberians' 100 per cent start in Group Five.
“Against Malta, although we scored eight goals, we had over 20 chances and we need to convert more of those. If you look at the Germans, if they just get two opportunities per game, chances are they’ll take them, so we have to be more clinical when going forward.
“Having said that, the most important thing is that we win the game. Sometimes the games that you are expected to win end up being your downfall if you don’t treat the opposition with respect and if you don’t approach the game in a professional manner. That’s what we try and do in every game and, fingers crossed, we can come away with the three points.
“Turkey are very physical,” she said in summary. “They try to play football but perhaps lack a bit of experience; their average age is 22. They will be very competitive, but we have to make sure we rise to the occasion, show our quality, maturity and experience and try and take the game to them.”