Into the groove
Wednesday, 02 March, 2011
Hope Powell pleased with England's Cyprus Cup opener.
Hope Powell said she was happy with her side’s performance after watching them defeat Italy in the opening match of The Cyprus Cup.
A third-minute goal from Ellen White and a penalty from Kelly Smith, on her 100th international appearance, gave England a 2-0 victory and the National Coach was pleased with what she saw.
“It took us a bit of time to find our groove and the performance got better 25-30 minutes into the first half, but all-in-all it was a good result,” she reflected.
“We scored two goals, kept a clean sheet and a lot of less experienced players got to play against decent opposition so we can take a lot of positives from the game.”
As Powell alluded to, on an afternoon which saw Smith bring her caps total into triple figures, White, Stephanie Houghton, Dunia Susi and Karen Bardsley were earning just their 37th cap between them, and that is one reason England come to Cyprus every year; to give younger players more experience of playing senior team football in a tournament environment.
Sixteen of England’s 21-strong squad are registered to an FA WSL club. The WSL season doesn’t get underway for another month and Powell factored this into her post-match analysis.
“I have to keep reminding myself that we are out of season,” she said.
“It was a really good, physical contest and yet the players aren’t fully match fit and not totally in match mode. As I said, it took us a bit of time to find our feet but once we did I thought we dominated the game most of the time. They got a bit niggley in the second half but we regained our focus and got the three points.”
Powell also reserved a few words of praise for Smith.
“It was great for Kelly to mark the game with a goal. She did well and covered a lot of ground. A goal and a victory as captain is not a bad way to celebrate your 100th cap.”
England play Scotland on Friday.