"We should have scored more"
Thursday, 20 May, 2010
Coach Hope Powell rues missed chances despite comfortable win.
By Tony Leighton
England Coach Hope Powell was happy with maximum points but not so pleased with the goal-count after England had beaten Malta 6-0 to maintain their 100 per cent World Cup qualifying record.
Powell’s team had beaten Malta 8-0 at home and could have easily overtaken that score in a game played in less than ideal conditions, hail and lightning plus a strong wind at times affecting the flow of what was nevertheless a one-sided contest.
“We should definitely have scored more goals – it could have been 20,” said Powell. “It was difficult to play against a team that got so many players behind the ball and we tried shifting players around to create openings. We did that, but what we didn’t do was finish – we weren’t clinical enough.”
Midfielder Fara Williams scored twice while there was a goal apiece for captain Faye White, right winger Jess Clarke and strikers Kelly Smith and Ellen White, the Leeds Carnegie player’s excellent goal coming in her first senior international start.
Powell may not have been overly impressed with her team’s finishing but she was able to take plusses from what was a fifth successive qualifying group win.
“I have to be happy with getting another three points,” she said, “and it was nice to see Ellen White and Claire Rafferty making their first senior starts. Natasha Dowie also had some game-time as substitute and it’s good that we’ve got youngsters like these coming through to push their claims for places.”
Victory took England level on points with group leaders Spain, on whom they have a game in hand but an inferior goal difference as they turn their attentions to facing the Spaniards at Aranda de Duero on 19 June.
They have already beaten Spain 1-0 at home and an away win would make them clear favourites to win the group and be seeded for the play-offs to qualify for the Finals in Germany next year.
Defeat could lead to the group winners being decided by goal difference, but Powell is not contemplating the loss of her side’s 100 per cent record.
“It will be extremely warm over there and that will not suit us one little bit,” she said, “so we will have to make sure our preparations are right and that we’re ready for the conditions. We will go there with the aim of winning, though – do that and goal difference is immaterial.”