'An important three points'
Thursday, 24 November, 2011
Powell joy as Three Lions claim crucial win.
By Glenn Lavery
Hope Powell said she was happy to be leaving Doncaster with three crucial Euro 2013 qualifying points.
Jess Clarke and Ellen White scored either side of half-time to give England a 2-0 win over Serbia, putting them back into second place in Group 6, two points behind Holland.
The hosts created a number of openings and had to settle for just two goals and they might even have fallen behind, had Jovana Damnjanovic's finishing been better. But before the game, the National Coach spoke of the importance of getting the victory and she will go into the New Year pleased to still be in contention to qualify for the Euro Finals.
"We played well in patches," said Powell. "Not to our best though. We did dominate the game, we should have scored more goals - again - but the most important thing is the three points.
"When we scored I think there was a bit of relief," she continued. "The players were really pleased. We said that this was a 'must-win' game, we knew we had to get three points to give ourselves the best possible chance of qualifying. It means we're still on the heels of the Dutch so it was important to get the result. We would have like more goals but the main thing was the three points.
"They probably had the best chance of the half and credit to Karen Bardsley, it was a great save and she really kept us in it at that point."
England drew 2-2 away to Serbia in their opening qualifier before picking up a win at home to Slovenia and a well earned 0-0 draw in Holland. With Powell's side now on eight points from four games and the Dutch on ten points, a likely scenario is the winner of the England-Holland game next June securing top spot in the group.
"It's the games in between that are the important ones and we have to make sure we're in contention," warned Powell, when quizzed on this possibility.
"We've made it very difficult for ourselves with the first game in Serbia. Now we're chasing. We know what we've got to do and as long as we do it we've got a good chance of qualifying."
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