Hope Powell has spoken to TheFA.com ahead of the game against Austria.
England v Austria
World Cup Qualifier
Thursday 20 April 2006
England Head Coach Hope Powell has been talking to TheFA.com ahead of tomorrow night's World Cup qualifier against Austria at the Priestfield Stadium.
The second half of our eight-match qualifying programme for next year’s Women’s World Cup finals begins this evening and I’m sure we’ll get the same tremendous support here at Gillingham that we had against France at Blackburn last month.
The players really do appreciate the backing they get from fans at grounds all around the country. At Ewood Park an excellent five-figure crowd cheered us all the way in what was our first qualifier on home soil after three away games.
The goalless draw meant our 100 per cent record was ended and that was disappointing, but I was pleased that we didn’t lose against the favourites to take our qualifying group’s only place at China 2007.
We are obviously aiming to extend our lead at the top this evening and, after beating Austria 4-1 away from home in the first of our qualifiers last September, we will be expected to do just that.
But in welcoming the Austrians to Priestfield Stadium I would also point out that they are a side capable of hurting higher-ranked teams, as they did when taking the lead against us and then doing the same against France before losing that match 3-1.
In our game against them at Amstetten it was probably a good thing for us that we went behind – the goal shook us up and got minds concentrated on the task in hand.
There will be no room for complacency and our girls will step into the game knowing that victory is vital, because the group is still wide open with each team having four games left to play.
There is still a long way to go, however, and any talk of playing at China 2007 is premature. It would of course be fantastic to reach the finals, but first we have to deal with what’s ahead of us and that’s four tough games starting tonight.
Tickets for the match are on sale from the Gillingham FC ticket office and ticket hotline - 01634 300000.
Tickets are priced at £5 for adults and £2.50 for concessions.