Hope Powell lauds the Women's U19 team as they clinch the European title.
Sweden 0-2 England
UEFA European Women's U19 Championship
4pm BST, Saturday 25 July 2009
Hope Powell predicted a bright future for the England Women’s team after watching the U19s lift the European Championship in Belarus.
Powell travelled to the Gorodskoi Stadium to see Mo Marley’s young charges defeat Sweden in their second European Final inside three years and was understandably encouraged by what she saw.
"I thought we played really well," Powell said.
"We definitely deserved the win. To be honest, we could have scored five goals but we didn’t concede in the tournament and they played with a level of maturity that we probably haven’t seen at this age group before. I'm really, really pleased and it certainly bodes well for the future.
"I was in touch with Mo throughout the tournament and she’s been really pleased with their attitude and application and she said this group of girls can play football at a really high level. It’s nice to have gone over and see with my own eyes the future talent coming through."
The U19s lost the 2006 Final to Germany, but strikes from Toni Duggan and Jordan Nobbs ensured a 2-0 victory over the Scandinavians on Saturday and a first title at this age group, an achievement Powell believes is evidence of the progress being made within the Women’s game.
"A lot of these girls played in the U17 World Cup last year," she explained, "and that’s why the development teams are so important, because it gives them that educational pathway, and the system we now have in place has really helped the maturity of our players, which Mo has channelled really well.
"As a result of the hard work and effort that the staff have put in, particularly Mo, we are now starting to see some benefit. It’s great for the future of Women’s football in England and it’s something that we’ve been threatening for a while, because we have been qualifying for major tournaments at different age groups and that is important, but to win one is absolutely fantastic. All the girls are elated.
"Winning does become a habit and the more you win, the more you understand about how to win, especially in tournaments. This is why we compete in friendly tournaments so the players can understand and appreciate the demands of them. And it’s great that at this level they can play in a European Championship every year and experience that tournament environment."
With the UEFA Women’s Euro 2009 just one month away, Powell’s side recently completed two friendly matches, a 2-0 defeat to Iceland followed by a 1-0 victory over Denmark, but she had been keeping an eye on the progress of the U19s throughout.
"Most of the Senior squad have come through the development squads and have played at U19 level, so once they beat Switzerland in the semi-final I told all of the Senior squad that the girls had reached the Final and they were really happy for them.
"They’ve been sending messages of support and this win has created something of a feel-good factor throughout the England teams."
So, how are preparations coming along for the Euros?
"We’re as ready as we can be at this moment in time," Powell said. "The last game against Denmark was very encouraging, but for now, we’re all delighted for the U19s and it’s just fantastic for everyone involved."
1 Rebecca Spencer, 2 Chelsea Weston, 3 Gilly Flaherty, 4 Remi Allen, 5 Lucy Bronze, 6 Kerys Harrop, 7 Isobel Christiansen (16 Jessica Holbrook, 79), 8 Jordan Nobbs, 9 Toni Duggan, 10 Michelle Hinnigan (14 Laura Coombs, 67), 11 Jade Moore
Substitutes not used
13 Ashley Baker, 12 Abbie Prosser, 15 Gemma Bonner, 17 Demi Stokes, 18 Lauren Bruton
Duggan 33, Nobbs 37
Referee Teodora Albon (ROU)
Assistant Referees Maja Dovnik (SVN) and Paula Brady (IRL)
Fourth Official Carina Susanna Vitulano (ITA)