Stoney targets another three points
Glenn Lavery in Aranda De Duero
Friday, 18 June, 2010
England defender wants to maintain 100 per cent record in Group 5.
A win against Spain on Saturday would seal a World Cup play-off berth for England and defender Casey Stoney has targeted nothing less than three points against Ignacio Quereda Lavina‘s side.
England defeated Spain 1-0 at The Den in April leaving them level with the Iberians on 15 points but with a game in hand. Another victory for Hope Powell’s side would see them top Group 5 by virtue of a superior head-to-head record. A draw would also leave England handily placed. However, if Spain were to win, their healthier goal difference and a fixture against a porous Malta side to come would turn things back in their favour, so it is certainly all to play for.
“We know what we’ve got to do,” said Stoney. “We’re looking at a win and nothing less than that is good enough for us. If you win all your games you get into the play-offs and that’s our main aim. We’ve got a job to do and the girls have worked really hard on being disciplined in training and making sure we get things right.”
England’s preparations for this crucial encounter began two weeks ago with a training camp in La Manga and although a few days of heavy rain have recently threatened to hamper their training, Stoney believes experiencing the hot weather in southern Spain may well have worked in England’s favour.
“Before we got here, we knew it was 33-34 degrees in Madrid so if it gets up to those sorts of temperatures our time in La Manga will definitely stand us in good stead,” she said.
“It’s been really good to get together for two weeks. It gave us an ideal opportunity to prepare for the game. Obviously we are out of season so it’s given us a little bit of time to do some ball work and work as a team on our shape ahead of Saturday.”
Stoney played in the 1-0 win in April and she said she is expecting another tough examination from a technically gifted Spanish outfit. However, despite that victory the 28-year-old believes England must improve their finishing if they are to leave Spain with a much-coveted three points.
“Spain are a good side,” admitted Stoney. “It’s always tight between us. The game at Millwall was tough. We probably had enough chances in the first half to win the game more comfortably but we didn’t take those chances and in international football if you don’t take your chances you can get punished. That’s one thing we’ll be looking to do; create more chances and we know that we’ve got to be more clinical in front of goal. And as a defender we know we must keep it tight at the back and concentrate for 90 minutes plus.
“We played Spain two years ago to qualify for the European Championship and were 2-0 down at half-time. We can’t afford to do that this time.”
That game in Zamora in 2008 ended 2-2, sealing England’s place in last summer’s Euros, and it is a result Stoney takes a lot of confidence from.
“We were 2-0 down at half-time but we showed great character to get back into the game in the second half," she reflected.
"The pressure is always on us because we are expected to win this group, but the pressure is also on [Spain]. They are at home and they need to win. It’s equally important that we win, though, because we want to go through the group with maximum points. We’ll take confidence from 2008, and from the game at The Den, but not too much where we become complacent.
“We will go out there and get the job done.”