Hope: 'We're striving to win'
Great Britain 3-0 Cameroon
London 2012 Women's Football
5.15pm, Saturday 28 July 2012
Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Live on BBC1
Hope Powell watched her side cruise through to the quarter-finals of the Olympics Women’s football tournament, and declared her side are ‘striving’ for success in the tournament.
Goals from captain Casey Stoney, Jill Scott and Steph Houghton saw Great Britain record a comfortable 3-0 win over a physical Cameroon side at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium.
It wasn’t all plain sailing for Powell’s side, however, who were forced to cope with the loss of defender Ifeoma Dieke, who finished the evening in hospital having a scan on a potentially worrying knee injury.
Speaking following the win, which put Team GB on a maximum six points from six, and guaranteed a last-eight berth, Powell said: “I am pleased with the result. We expected it to be physical and it was exactly that.
“I don’t think it’s deliberate [on Cameroon’s part], it appears to me to be more clumsy than anything else.
“One thing I did say to the girls beforehand was ‘expect a physical game and expect the challenges to come’. The girls did remarkably well just to get up and get on with it; knowing they are going to go for a 50:50 ball and get clattered. We tried to keep the ball moving to protect the players.”
Powell was, of course, more concerned with her team’s performance, which was much improved on the opening game show against New Zealand.
“The girls were very disciplined and tried to implement what we asked them do in training and the strategy worked,” she added.
“You can find a lot more room to play against Cameroon as they stretch the pitch quite a lot and it gives you an opportunity to pass it and move it. As the game went on we got more and more confident and in the first half we played some nice, attractive football.
“In the second half we let them in a little bit and lost a little bit of discipline. Thankfully, we managed to score another goal and secure the three points.
“We won the game, got three points and we’re into the quarter finals."
Kelly Smith was withdrawn at half-time as a precautionary measure, while Anita Asante suffered a cut lip after taking a boot in the face, but it is Dieke’s injury that causes the most concern going into the final group game against Brazil at Wembley next Tuesday.
“Iffy went down and she looks in some discomfort,” said Powell. “We are going to get a scan. Anita is fine, Kelly is fine and we’ll just have to see how Iffy does and wait and see on that one.”
Attentions will now turn to the table-topping clash against Brazil at the home of football, Wembley. With an expected 70,000 plus crowd in attendance, Powell will hope her side can top the group, as they go up against a Brazil team who sit level with Great Britain on points in Group E.
“We are out of the group now and that was the challenge. We’ll be looking to win [against Brazil], it’s at Wembley, and it’s a fantastic occasion. It will be a first for the new Wembley [to host a women’s international] and I believe up to 70,000 tickets have been sold. Hopefully we’ll do well and leave a good legacy, given that we will be centre-stage.
“Can we win the game on Tuesday? Why not? We’re going to try. We can’t ignore the fact that they are a good side and we respect that and we will prepare as we always do, which is very diligently. We’re striving to win.”
Having seen Brazil score five against Cameroon and match GB’s 1-0 win over New Zealand, Powell is under no illusions as to the task in hand.
“They are typical Brazilians, they have flair and they have real talent in their team," she said.
“I’ve seen them over the years and, like every team, they have weaknesses and we will try and exploit that. We know we are going to have to be at our best to compete, but everybody will be up for it because it’s Brazil and it’s at Wembley.
“We’re striving to continue in this competition and there’s always something to work on. We scored one the other night, three tonight but maybe could have scored six. Scoring at this level is not easy.”