Houghton in bullish mood
By Glenn Lavery
Friday, 30 March, 2012
England are ready to collect crucial Euro qualifying win in Croatia.
England are in confident mood ahead of their must-win Euro 2013 qualifier against Croatia, according to Steph Houghton.
Hope Powell’s side have travelled to Zagreb where they will take on their Group 6 opponents on Saturday, and Houghton says all eyes are firmly fixed on the collection of three crucial points. England lie second in the group behind Holland, five points further back but with a game in hand and the Dutch still have to visit England in June.
Only the top-placed nation are guaranteed a place at the Euro Finals in Sweden next year, while the runners-up will go into a play-off.
“We’re feeling really positive,” said Houghton, of the mood in the squad. “We’ve had some good training sessions over here this week and everyone has looked bright.
“We know that we need to get three points and everybody is confident that we can do that. It’s a massive game and we know we have got to get the win.”
The Three Lions have travelled to Croatia without injured duo Casey Stoney and Sophie Bradley, England’s centre-back pairing throughout this qualifying campaign so far. More often seen in midfield for her country, Houghton did feature at both left-back and centre-back during the recent Cyprus Cup and she says she would be more than happy to fill the void left by the Lincoln pair.
“I’ve played in a few positions over the last few years and I’d play anywhere for England, anywhere Hope asked me to,” admitted Houghton, who regularly turned out at full-back for Arsenal last season.
“As long as I get the job done wherever I’m asked to play and as long as we get the win, that’s the main thing. There’s enough talent across the whole pitch to beat Croatia and if we perform on the day I’m sure we can do that.
“Croatia will be quite resilient,” she continued, “they will press us and look to get people behind the ball, so it’s up to us to move the ball quickly and try and break them down.
“Our main focus is on getting the three points.”