VIDEO: Chapman the champion
Thursday, 01 April, 2010
A Katie Chapman goal gives England a crucial 1-0 win over Spain.
Glenn Lavery at the Den
Click here to watch video highlights of the game.
A well-taken, first-half goal from Katie Chapman gave England what could prove to be a crucial victory over Spain in World Cup Qualifying Group Five.
On 29 minutes, Chapman received Jess Clarke’s cross inside the box, turned and found the bottom corner with a cool finish under pressure from Marta Torrejon.
England had chances to settle the game even before the half-time whistle and the Spain Coach, Iganacio Quereda Lavina, will be disappointed his side were unable to offer more of an attacking threat, having scored 21 goals in their four Qualifiers so far.
Both sides came into the match nurturing 100 per cent starts to their Group Five campaign so something had to give at The Den. After a battling performance, punctuated with a crucial moment of quality from Chapman, this evening it is England’s impeccable record that is still very much intact. And how crucial these three points could be come next August.
Powell made three changes from the side that defeated Austria 3-0 last Thursday with Rachel Brown, Clarke and Kelly Smith replacing Karen Bardsley, Dunia Susi and Lianne Sanderson respectively.
After an understandably cagey opening, it was England who fashioned the first chance of note through Chapman, but her side-footed effort, from an Eniola Aluko cut-back, bent just wide of Ainhoa Tirapu’s far post.
On 25 minutes Aluko again attempted to turn provider with a deep cross from the right which Rachel Yankey tried to cushion back across goal, but Smith was unable to retrieve. There was a brief moment of concern almost immediately after, when Adriana Martin went down in the box after a collision with Brown, but the referee, Christina Westrum saw nothing in the challenge.
Then came the breakthrough that England so desired. A surging Aluko run from the centre of the field took her beyond Amaia Olabarrieta, allowing the forward to play the ball wide to Clarke. The winger sent the ball into Chapman on the penalty spot and the midfielder turned smartly and volleyed the ball into the bottom corner.
This lead might have been doubled when an inswinging, left-footed free-kick from Yankey found Fara Williams at the near post, but the Everton skipper was unable to twist her neck enough to turn the ball goalwards. Williams came close again before the break when she curled a direct free-kick narrowly wide.
Though there was only a goal in it, the hosts had seized the initiative and looked the side most likely to score the game’s second goal. That honour might have gone to Yankey just before the break, but her prodded effort sailed over the bar.
It was Yankey who had the opening effort of the second half and her speculative 25-yarder appeared to be going wide, but Tirapu took no chances and turned the ball behind for a corner. The subsequent set piece was delivered by Yankey and headed wide by Williams at the far post.
After an ultimately disappointing first half from Spain, it was midfielder Sonia Bermudez who had their first real attempt at goal, a delicate chip which failed to trouble Brown.
With Spain failing to demonstrate why they currently top the group, Ma Jose Perez was brought on for Bermudez in an attacking substitution just after the hour mark. With Jill Scott already having replaced Smith, England made their second change of the evening with last week’s debut girl, Ellen White, coming on for Aluko in a straight swap.
There was a lack of many clear-cut opportunities after the interval and a second goal for Powell’s side would have effectively sealed the points, but Spain refused to be breached for a second time and went in search of the equaliser through substitute Ana Maria Romero but her shot flashed wide.
With the game entering its latter stages, Spain enjoyed their first real spell of sustained pressure and some good work from Veronica Boquete on the right allowed her to cross for Jose Perez, but her cheeky effort was cleared by Alex Scott.
The visitors came even closer just four minutes from time when Martin struck a delicious free-kick goalwards, but luckily for England it was a whisker away from the angle of post and bar.
Despite not being able to give themselves a more comfortable cushion, England held on for three very important World Cup Qualifying points. They are now level on points with Spain, but with a game in hand.
1 Rachel Brown, 2 Alex Scott, 3 Rachel Unitt, 4 Katie Chapman, 5 Faye White (C), 6 Casey Stoney, 7 Jess Clarke, 8 Fara Williams, 9 Eniola Aluko (18 Ellen White, 69), 10 Kelly Smith (12 Jill Scott, 59), 11 Rachel Yankey (16 Sue Smith, 83)
Substitutes not used 13 Karen Bardsley, 14 Dunia Susi, 15 Laura Bassett, 17 Lianne Sanderson
Head Coach Hope Powell
1 Ainhoa Tirapu, 2 Marta Torrejon, 3 Sonia Vesga, 5 Ruth Garcia, 8 Sonia Bermudez (14 Ma Jose Perez, 66), 9 Veronica Boquete, 10 Adriana Martin, 11 Sandra Vilanova (C) (15 Silvia Meseguer, 80), 12 Ana Maria Escribano, 16 Amaia Olabarrieta, 17 Elisabet Ibarra (7 Ana Maria Romero, 74)
Substitutes not used 13 Maria Jose Pons, 4 Melisa Nicolau, 6 Alejandra Lopez, 18 Erika Vazquez
Head Coach Ignacio Quereda Lavina
Referee Christina Westrum Pedersen (NOR)
Assistant Referees Vibeke Larsen & Monica Lokkeberg (both NOR)
Fourth Official Natalie Walker (ENG)