Yankey rallies the troops
by Glenn Lavery in Dresden
Friday, 01 July, 2011
Left winger eyeing first World Cup win, against New Zealand.
Rachel Yankey says England know what they need to do in order to beat New Zealand in their second group match of the FIFA Women's World Cup.
After a 1-1 draw with Mexico in Wolfsburg on Monday, the left-sided midfielder has urged her team-mates to raise their level of performance against the 'Football Ferns', who lost their opening game 2-1 to Japan, and pick up their first win of the tournament.
"Now we've got that first game out of the way we'll all be less nervous and can go into the New Zealand game feeling confident and comfortable with the job we've got to do, which is getting three points," Yankey said.
"They're a hard working team and they will come out and attack us because they have to win the game. They are going to press us all over the pitch, but we all feel confident. We've done our homework on them and we know what to expect and we know how we can get a result.
“We drew 0-0 with them in The Peace Cup last year and even though we didn't win everyone has taken confidence from that. But we can't be complacent. We've got to win, but we've got to perform as well. At points in the Mexico game we just didn't perform. We all know we have to perform both as a team and as individuals, because as well as getting a result we are all playing for places; no-one wants to miss out on that third group game.”
England began Monday’s game very much in the ascendency. They enjoyed more possession than Mexico and constructed the more threatening attacks and efforts at goal. Fara Williams broke the deadlock with a header from Karen Carney’s 21st-minute corner, but Monica Ocampo equalised against the run of play with a long-range effort. Leonardo Cueller’s side then grew into the game and disrupted the Three Lions’ first-half fluency.
"We had chances to win that game,” Yankey reflected. “We need to make sure that we put those chances away against New Zealand. We need to focus and stick to the game plan. We were a bit sloppy at times and played a type of football that wasn't really like us; we were giving the ball away and just doing things we shouldn’t have been doing really. We can’t do that on Friday.”
This is Yankey’s second World Cup campaign, having been a key member of the England squad that reached the quarter finals in China in 2007, and she has nothing but praise for the way this year’s tournament is being run.
"I'm really impressed with the organisation of it all,” she said. “Everyone involved in it should be very proud of what they've done. All the games are live on TV over here, meaning we can watch them all when we're not playing and that's brilliant. The attendance levels are amazing as well and it's only going to get better.”