Lionesses set for Euro Finals
Sunday, 01 July, 2012
Mo Marley's U19s are fully prepared for Finals opener against Sweden on Monday
Mo Marley is currently readying her England Women’s U19 side for their latest assault on the UEFA European Championship Finals.
Winners in 2009 and runners-up in both 2007 and 2010, the Young Lions will be well respected going into Monday’s opening game against Sweden, although the Head Coach refuses to rely on history as a means of enhancing England’s chances of glory.
“We have done well in this competition in the past,” recognises Marley, “but that counts for nothing now.
“This is a new group of players and we are in a very tough group so we know we will have to work hard and play well if we want to progress to the last four at least.”
This year’s Finals, which are being staged in Turkey, is an especially sweet occasion for Marley because, despite their considerable pedigree at this level, her side narrowly missed out on last year’s campaign. But their success in this competition did hand them a bye in the first round of qualifiers this time around and England made the most of it by winning all three of their final qualification group games, against Finland (1-0), Wales (6-0) and Austria (1-0).
“I hope we can keep that momentum going,” said Marley. “The girls have done very well to get here so it would be nice if we can continue that and then we’ll see where it takes us.
“Getting to the Finals is what you aim for at the start of every season, so it’s great to be back here again. We are up against some really tough opposition and that will be a great learning experience for the players as they continue to develop their game and that is exactly what you want.”
As well as the calibre of opposition, England may also find the Turkish heat a tough obstacle to overcome and although Marley admits to some difficulties in acclimatising she believes her players will be fully fit, well prepared and raring to go on Monday.
“The heat has been a bit of a problem, but that’s why we took the girls out here a bit earlier than normal, so they could get used to it.
“We have trained in the hot weather and I know it has been energy sapping, but the players have adapted very well in the end. The games will be played in the evenings and even though it will still be extremely warm, it will obviously be a bit cooler than playing during the day.
“With the heat in mind we haven’t actually pushed the girls too hard. We want them to keep something back for the games themselves.
“But now they can’t wait to get going. Everyone is ready for it, now it’s just about making sure we perform to the level we know we are capable of.”
After Sweden, England will take on Spain on Thursday and Serbia next Sunday.