A platform to build on
Tuesday, 20 October, 2009
With Euro 2009 a distant memory, Casey Stoney is now focused on World Cup Qualifying campaign.
England v Malta
FIFA 2011 Women's World Cup
Qualification Group Five
5.30pm, Sunday 25 October 2009
Bloomfield Road, Blackpool FC
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England defender, Casey Stoney, is adament that England have to kick on from their performances at the European Championship to ensure they qualify for the 2011 World Cup in Germany.
Hope Powell's side begin their World Cup Qualifying campaign against Malta at Bloomfield Road on Sunday and Stoney says they will draw on their Euro experience in their quest for future glory.
“Finland was a great experience for the squad," Stoney reflected. "We played well at times, overcame obstacles, played six games in a tournament and reached a Final. The players can draw a lot from the Euros in terms of tournament football and I think we are better players already for that experience.
"We now know what it’s like to get out of a group and then make it through the knockout stages all the way to a Final and the challenge for us is to do it again and make sure we are in Germany for the World Cup in two years time.”
Stoney, who played in five of England's six matches in Finland, admitted defeat to Germany in the Final was hard to take.
“It was bitterly disappointing but credit where credit is due, Germany were better than us on the night.
"Every time we got close to them, they seemed to step up a gear. We competed well with them for 60 minutes but we chased the game in the last half-an-hour and that’s where their class showed; they were pretty clinical and took their chances. But all the players realise that this is the level we can and should be competing at and we now have to make sure we consistently compete with the best teams in the World and qualify for major tournaments.”
The 27-year-old was also quick to warn against complacency in attempting to qualify for the World Cup however, and called for complete focus ahead of Sunday's game.
“We cannot and will not overlook any team in our group," she warned.
"People are saying it will come down to Spain and us but it would be folly to overlook Malta, Turkey or Austria. Malta are relatively unknown to us, we’ve never played them before so we have to be fully focused and ensure we get the job done. We can then look to Turkey in November. Our aim is to have six points going into 2010 and we won’t be taking any teams lightly.
"The Euros showed us how the quality of teams across Europe is improving every season and we know that teams will be upping their games against us now. It’s vital we get out of the group and it all starts with Malta.
“I’m really looking forward to playing at home again. It’s our first game back and I’m hoping the fans will come out in force to support us. We always get good crowds up in the north west and Blackpool are doing well in the Championship, so the fans have been used to seeing some good football up there this season. Hopefully we can get a good result, play some good football and send the crowd home happy once more.”