Marley aiming for top spot
Saturday, 29 May, 2010
England Coach looking to end group with win over Germany.
Mo Marley says her England side deserved their 2-1 victory over Italy on Thursday after two last-gasp goals from Toni Duggan and substitute Lauren Bruton secured their passage to the semi-final of the UEFA European U19 Championship.
But the Head Coach also admits that their opponents were good for their 1-0 half-time lead in Kumanovo courtesy of Francesca Vitale's sixth-minute opener.
With defeat just four minutes away, Duggan popped up to level, showing her quality inside the box, and young substitute Bruton snatched all three points with what Marley called an opportunist strike.
With Germany also winning their first two games, it means the encounter with the Germans on Sunday will decide who wins the group.
"We were below-par during the first half and never really got going," Marley told TheFA.com. "Italy dominated and deserved to be a goal in front. We had a little discussion at half-time and knew we had more to offer and if we were going to stay in the competition we had to put in a better performance in the second half.
"We got the chance to do that as our second-half display was a contrast to the first. We were excellent.
"It was similar when we played Sweden in phase two. We've got that strength and belief in this squad and they just don't know when they are beaten. They will keep going and going, and that's the sign of a good team when you don't play the best but you can still grind out a good result.
"I'm pleased that we got the result in the end, and if you look at the chances across the game we created enough to come away with a win."
Duggan's goal was her second of the tournament after she got the scoring underway in the 3-1 win over Scotland in the opening game. It also took the Everton striker's international tally to 16, which also included a strike in the Euro 2009 Final against Sweden.
Meanwhile Arsenal's Bruton was only on the pitch for two minutes before she got the winner - her first for the Three Lions.
"It was a typical Toni goal," said Marley. "She leads by example on the pitch and her goals underline that. She kept plugging away, got herself into the box and with a cool, calm finish, she drove low across the keeper and into the corner of the net and that was the little bit of quality we needed.
"Lauren's goal was pretty similar. It came from the right of the box initially, the 'keeper parried it and Lauren came late at the back-post with an opportunist's goal, and that's why we put her on.
"We took a risk late on, push bodies forward as we wanted to get the three points and felt we could win it. When the first went in that belief flooded into the players. We took our chances and, thankfully, got our just rewards in the end."
And now Marley and her team are preparing to take on Germany in the last group encounter, but despite both sides having already made it to the semis, the former England defender is determined to keep the winning habit going.
"Both sides will have similar players to when we last played in La Manga, and we'll be going into this game as we do all of them - to win. We'll be planning and preparing so we can put in our best individual and team performances and I believe if we get that right, on our day this team is capable of beating anybody in the world."
She added: "We're still in the semi-final regardless of what happens against Germany, but we want to continue that winning mentality and make sure we finish the group on the top with three wins from three."
England meet Germany on Sunday afternoon when they will also find out who they'll play in the semi-final on Wednesday 2 June.