England's World Cup group was blown wide open by France's defeat by Holland in Angers.
Hope Powell's England will have been in buoyant mood on Saturday evening as news filtered through from Angers that Women's World Cup Group 5 favourites France had been defeated at home by Holland.
Powell and her Assistant National Coach Brent Hills were in the crowd in North Western France to witness the clash between the two countries likely to be pushing England for the one automatic qualification spot for China 2007, and came away naturally pleased with a result which blows the group wide open.
Speaking to TheFA.com today, Brent said: "Naturally this is a big boost for England as France are certainly a very strong team who will be there or there abouts at the end of the campaign, and we have seen enough to prepare for our next games with confidence.
"The Dutch were very resolute and we remember that well from the two friendlies we played against them last September.
"France's defeat would seem to open the door for England, but if we were to fail to beat Holland, then the pendulum swings towards the Dutch.
"So although we take heart from the result, we will be concentrating on our own performances and hoping to get to the end of the year with nine points out of nine."
Despite the dominance of Elisabeth Loisel's side, France could not find a way through a solid and determined Dutch side that defended as though their lives depended on it.
After coasting to an opening victory over Italy at WOMEN'S EURO 2005, many followers of the women's game were surprised that Les Bleus failed to qualify for the semi finals.
However, their inability to break down a Norway side that progressed to the Final was in evidence again on Saturday, with Marlies de Boer this time deliering the killer blow, climbing above Sarah Bouhaddi to head home after 64 minutes.
Despite having been on the back foot for most of the game, the Dutch almost doubled their advantage late in the second half, but held on to move level with England at the top of the table on three points after one game.
French midfielder Camille Abily was less than happy after the defeat and told the French Football Federation's website:
"I looked at the video of the game and was so frustrated as we did not play our natural game at all. The Dutch are a very physical side which I knew from playing against Saestum for my club side Montpellier in the UEFA Women's Cup, but we were punished for one mistake, with some careless marking.
"Victory in our next two games is imperative and there is no room for error. The spirit of rebellion will guide us now."
Austria - who England defeated 4-1 in Amstetten in their first qualifier at the beginning of September - also got off the mark, as they defeated Hungary 3-0 away in Buk.
Forthcoming Group 5 Fixtures:
27/10 - Hungary v England
29/10 - Austria v Holland
5/11 - Austria v France
9/11 - France v Hungary
17/11 - Holland v England
France v Holland image courtesy of Agence F.E.P.