Smith praises work ethic
Friday, 17 September, 2010
Goalscorer says her side had to dig deep to qualify for the World Cup.
Kelly Smith lauded her England team-mates’ perseverance after they qualified for next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup in Wohlen, Switzerland, despite going down to ten players before half-time in Thursday’s second leg.
Smith scored a goal in each leg of the play-off to help England register a 5-2 aggregate victory, but they were made to do it the hard way after goalkeeper Rachel Brown was wrongly sent off by referee Cristina Dorcioman following an alleged altercation with Swiss goalscorer Ramona Bachmann.
“It was a great performance from us,” concluded Smith after the game. “Obviously, we lost Rachel and we had to dig deep and grind out the win. It was hard work but we re-grouped and kept them out.
“I’m a little bit disappointed [with Bachmann]. I didn’t think it was a sending off. It doesn’t really matter now, though, because we are still going to Germany.”
Smith had an eventful game. Not only did she open the scoring, but she also missed a ninth-minute penalty, hit the bar with a 30-yard chip, set up Eniola Aluko for England’s second goal and was brought down inside the box in the 50th-minute which won her side a second penalty, converted by Fara Williams.
So, after playing such a key role in England qualifying for Germany 2011, how does it feel to finally get there?
“It’s amazing,” said Smith.
“The women’s game in England has really developed over the last five or six years and we’ve now qualified for the last few major tournaments. We’re just delighted to be going to Germany for the biggest tournament in women’s football.”
England will appeal against Rachel Brown's red card.