Strength in depth
Friday, 26 March, 2010
Hope Powell happy to have options.
England 3-0 Austria
FIFA Women’s World Cup 2011 Qualifier
7pm, Thursday 25 March 2010
Loftus Road, Queens Park Rangers FC
The England Women’s Head Coach, Hope Powell, praised her side’s strength in depth after watching them maintain their 100 per cent start to World Cup Qualifying with a 3-0 victory over Austria on Thursday night.
Lianne Sanderson headed the Three Lions into the lead on 16 minutes and her strike partner, Eniola Aluko doubled the advantage with a cute finish on 68. Debutant, Ellen White, sealed the victory with a neat chip just before the full-time whistle.
This result leaves England on nine points from their opening three Qualifiers, three points behind leaders Spain, who they face next week, but with a game in hand.
Through a combination of tactical and injury-forced reasons, there were six changes from the side that beat Turkey 3-0 in the last Qualifier in November and Powell believes the quality of her squad bodes well for the future.
“Competition is now very fierce and no one position is a foregone conclusion anymore, which is good,” she said after the match.
“We now have players who can play in quite a few positions and we didn’t have that, say, five years ago. We were missing a few players for this match; Karen Carney, Anita Asante, Kelly Smith, Jess Clarke, to name just a few, so it helps us that players can move around the pitch. It’s good for the team and it’s a fight for places.
“All the players have to work extremely hard to stay in the team and they know that. We’ve got ambitious players, we’ve got youngsters who want to play and from my point of view, it’s a good position to be in.”
One of those youngsters Powell referred to is the Leeds Carnegie forward, White, who has been in scintillating form for her club this season. Ahead of the Premier League Cup Final in February, White spoke of her ambition to work her way into the senior team set-up and she made an instant impact, scoring on her debut.
“I’m really pleased for Ellen and for Claire Rafferty [who also made her debut against Austria],” said Powell. “They both earned their call-up and they’ve done well in training all week.
“Ellen’s got good pace, she’s a good finisher and she has ambitions to stamp her mark. I thought she did really well. She will run things down, she will put her head on things and we haven’t that dimension from a centre-forward before; pace, aggression, it gives you lots of options, which is encouraging. She got a bad injury last year and for her to come back and be playing really well for Leeds and scoring lots of goals, I’m really pleased for her. I hope now she can just kick on.”
Though they had won their opening two Qualifiers, against Malta and Turkey, comfortably, the performance against Austria was England’s best to date in this qualification campaign. Aluko and Sanderson linked up well, the defence were alert to the - admittedly rare – Austria counter-attack and the midfield four remained combative and dangerous throughout. They also put together a host of confident passing moves, particularly after the break.
“Second half, I thought was a lot better,” concurred Powell. “We got somewhat congested in the centre of the pitch and we couldn’t work the ball out wide. We just lost our way a little bit but we sorted a few things out at half-time, the players implemented them after the break and the game opened up, so that was pleasing.
“The most important thing was getting the victory and the three points. We’ve done that, so we will have the weekend off and get ready to go again next week.
“We were expected to beat Austria. It doesn’t always work out that way sometimes, but we got the result. Now we need to concentrate on Spain.
With Spain also enjoying a 100 per cent start in qualifying, the two matches between England and Ignacio Quereda Laviña’s side could go a long way to deciding which nation tops Group 5 and subsequently makes it through to the two-legged play-off in September.
You can watch next Thursday’s crucial encounter live and free of charge on TheFA.com via FATV. Alternatively, ticket details are listed below.
1 Karen Bardsley, 2 Dunia Susi (17 Ellen White, 62), 3 Rachel Unitt (18 Claire Rafferty, 87), 4 Katie Chapman, 5 Faye White (C), 6 Casey Stoney, 7 Alex Scott, 8 Fara Williams, 9 Eniola Aluko, 10 Lianne Sanderson, 11 Rachel Yankey (14 Sue Smith, 87)
Substitutes not used 12 Jill Scott, 13 Rachel Brown, 15 Laura Bassett, 16 Lindsay Johnson
Head Coach Hope Powell
1 Jasmin Pfeiler, 2 Susanna Gahleitner, 3 Susanna Hoeller, 4 Marlies Hanscaitz, 5 Kathrin Entner, 6 Carina Wenninger, 7 Marion Groebner (11 Nina Burger, 63), 8 Nadine Prohaska, 10 Sarah Puntigam, 14 Nina Aigner (C), 15 Daniella Tasch
Substitutes not used 21 Bianca Reischer, 12 Kathrin Hoellmueller, 13 Nicole Gatternig, 17 Susanna Koch
Head Coach Mag. Johannes Uhlig
Referee Caroline De Boeck (BEL)
Assistant Referees Anne Cheron & Hennelore Onsea (both BEL)
Fourth Official Lisa Rashid (ENG)
England v Spain
You can purchase tickets online via www.millwalltickets.com, by phone on 0871 230 5585 (national call charges apply) or in person/by post at the Millwall Ticket Office - Ticket Office, Millwall Football Club, Zampa Road, London, SE16 3LN.