'In the driving seat'
Monday, 18 June, 2012
Hope Powell lauds players as they seize initiative in Euro 2013 qualifying
By Glenn Lavery
National Coach Hope Powell praised her players after they picked up what could be a vital Euro 2013 qualifying win over Holland on Sunday.
Rachel Yankey scored the only goal of the game in the 67th minute, beating Dutch 'keeper Loes Geurts with a quick free-kick from just outside the box.
The result leaves England two points behind Holland at the top of Group 6 but they have a game in hand. Only the top-placed nation on the group will automatically qualify for next summer's Euro Finals.
"We're in the driving seat now," said Powell after the game.
"We always knew it was going to be tough. The game was evenly matched, but we probably edged it slightly.
"In the second half we did the things we said we would do at half time. We had a little bit more enthusiasm, a little bit more grit.
"It was a scrappy game but we got the three points and the girls worked really hard to make sure that happened, particularly in the second half.
"I said to them at half time that it's about desire and if you really want it then you're going to have to dig deep. You can't do it half-heartedly. They took that on board and they responded well to it.
"I'm just really pleased that we got the three points."
Next up is Slovenia, who England beat 4-0 in Swindon last September, on Thursday, followed by a home game against Croatia, who they defeated 6-0 in March, in September.
England know that if they win both matches then a place at Sweden 2013 is theirs.
"It's important that we now don't slip up against Slovenia," Powell concurred.
"We always knew that, potentially, the Dutch would be the strongest team in the group. But having said that, we dropped points against Serbia so we really can't take anything for granted.
"We worked really hard to dig a result out and get the three points, now we can't throw that away.
"We're in pole position, it's where we want to be; it's where we feel we should be. Now it's a case of making sure we get the job done."