Hope Powell is pleased with the result against Holland but wants a stronger performance in future.
England Coach Hope Powell was far more satisfied with the result than her team’s performance after seeing England edge past Holland with a 1-0 win that took them three points clear at the top of their qualifying group for the 2007 Women’s World Cup finals.
A second half penalty by Everton midfielder Fara Williams maintained England’s 100 per cent record – the only one left in Group 5 - and left them well placed to reach the finals in China as the group stage now goes into a four-month recess.
Reflecting on a difficult encounter at FC Zwolle, Powell said: “We went in as favourites and that put a lot of pressure on us, but we didn’t do ourselves justice. It was a competitive game that could have gone either way.
“Holland stifled our play and at times we were on the back foot and rode our luck. We’ll have to play better than this to qualify for the finals, but I’m happy that although we didn’t play well we’ve got three points.”
Powell’s opposite number Vera Pauw, an old playing foe but also a longstanding friend of the England coach, had no complaints about the result despite seeing her team narrowly lose their own 100 per cent record.
Pauw, who was Scotland coach before taking over her native country’s team last year, said: “England are strong, but we are getting closer and we can be proud of ourselves for this performance. We are capable of doing better though, and the best team won.”
Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of the evening for England was a second booking of the qualifying campaign for captain Faye White, who as a result will be suspended when Powell’s team entertain group favourites France in March. That could prove to be the group’s key fixture, but Powell refused to be downbeat about the loss of her skipper.
“That’s the nature of the game,” she said. “We have to accept it and we certainly can’t dwell on it – it will simply give someone else a chance.” The National Coach was equally phlegmatic about the Group 5 situation following her team’s latest win.
“We didn’t play particularly well,” she admitted, “but it’s all about putting points on the board and I’m just happy that we’ve got another three.”