By Glenn Lavery in Slovenia
Thursday, 21 June, 2012
Hope Powell says spirits are high going into penultimate qualifier
England Women's National Coach Hope Powell says her team are in good spirits ahead of tonight's Euro 2013 qualifier in a baking hot Slovenia.
A 1-0 win over Holland on Sunday has left England in prime position to seal automatic qualification to next summer's Finals in Sweden.
The Dutch beat Serbia 4-0 on Wednesday night in their final qualifier, moving them five points clear of England. But if the Three Lions win their remaining two matches - the final qualifier coming at home to bottom team Croatia in September - they will clinch top spot in Group 6.
And Powell believes the momentum shift in the group has done her players the world of good.
"We're in pole position," she said. "It's where we want to be; it's where we feel we should be, so the girls should be feeling confident going into this game.
"We got the three points against Holland which has lifted us, but we've still got a job to do.
"They are a talented bunch of players who worked really hard to dig a result out on Sunday and we can't throw that away."
Powell and her players are only too aware of the last time they threw something away. Leading 2-0 against Serbia in the opening Euro qualifier, England missed a hatful of chances to put the game to bed and ended up conceding two second-half goals.
Although they have already beaten Slovenia 4-0 in this campaign, Powell says England will be fully focused this evening, so as not to suffer the same fate they did in Belgrade.
"We can't take any team for granted," she said.
"I've said repeatedly, certainly in the last two years, that the gap between the best and the rest is as narrow as it has ever been and qualifying for this European Championship is tough.
"We know what happened against Serbia - the players don't need reminding of that. But they certainly don't want it to happen again.
"We have trained well, we have rested well, and we are in a good frame of mind."