Powell: 'We have to be sensible'
Thursday, 16 September, 2010
Head Coach sets out her plan for play-off.
Watch the game live on FATV from 6pm.
After a 2-0 first leg win over Switzerland on Sunday, England are just 90 minutes away from securing a place at next summer’s FIFA Women’s World Cup and Head Coach Hope Powell has asked her side to ‘be sensible’ in order to prevail.
The second leg takes place on Thursday evening in Wohlen, just a few miles east of Zurich, and Powell knows the Swiss will have to alter their game plan from the weekend, when their ambition was limited to rare counter attacks.
"Switzerland have to win the game,” Powell concurred, “so, for us, it's about tightening up defensively and being a bit more clinical in attack.
“They will try and get forward so hopefully we can break quickly and score at the other end to give us a bit of a cushion. We will be trying to win the game but the most important thing is not to lose it. We have to be sensible.”
Should Switzerland overturn the two-goal deficit and complete an admiral comeback, England can still reach the World Cup via six further games in the shape of three further play-offs but Powell said this scenario makes her feel sick and has pleaded with her side to get a result in this second leg.
"The expectation is that we are supposed to win but it's premature to think that we're already there when we've still got 90 minutes to go,” she warned. “Having said that, the players' focus has been excellent.
"There’s one game to go. We've got to give it our all and hopefully we won't have to go to another play-off. We want to try and get the job done. If not, at least we've got another option, but I don't even want to contemplate that right now.”
Powell has led England to the Finals of the last three major tournaments, culminating in an appearance in last year’s European Championship Final, where they lost to current world champions and 2011 World Cup hosts Germany. The Head Coach has watched her side steadily improve during her 12-year tenure and they currently sit ninth in the FIFA world rankings, but she won’t be satisfied until England are on top of the pile.
"We've been striving, certainly for the last 10-12 years, to be the best,” Powell reflected. “We're not there yet; we haven't won a major tournament. We got to a Final last year and with that, the expectations rise. It's a good thing. It's a position we want to be in.
“The thing is now how we manage it going forward. So far, so good. We are now a team to beat and that can only be good for our game. It means that players have to work that much harder and prepare that much better and that will move us on. It's something we relish; we're not always going to get it right, but it's better to be in this position than not.
"We want to win medals, that's why we do it. Taking part is great. Winning something is even greater.”