Brent Hills says practising penalties paid off after the young Lions beat Sweden.
England 1-1 Sweden (
England won 4-2 on penalties)
Women's U23 Nordic Tournament
Fifth-Sixth Place Play-off
Tuesday 24 July 2007
England concluded the Nordic Tournament on a high note when they secured a second consecutive penalty shoot-out win, this time over Sweden.
Just days after getting the better of arch-rivals Germany on penalties, the young Lions were faced with a second shoot-out with fifth place at stake.
But England held their nerve to secure back-to-back wins.
"We have been practising penalties - we always do," said Head Coach Brent Hills. "You never know when you might need them. They could win you a tournament. But shoot-outs in tournaments like this are always great experience."
Earlier in the afternoon, England went ahead when Birmingham City's Danielle Bird curled home a stunning free-kick on 12 minutes.
The Three Lions had numerous chances to extend their lead but three missed one-on-ones and a goalline clearance meant Sweden remained within touching distance.
The Scandinavians would make England pay for their profligacy in front of goal with a late equaliser, but Hills' outfit would have the last laugh.
"All in all, it was a good performance," added Hills. "If we had taken our opportunities we would have beaten them. We really took the game to them after they had equalised."
The victory was the finale of England's trip to Finland where they lost 4-1 to the hosts before securing two shoot-out wins.
"There are no easy games at this level," said Hills. "We were battered by Finland but we then beat Germany, who then beat Finland 6-0. Anyone can beat anyone, that's why it's important that the players become more consistent. There is some talent here but they need to be less erratic.
"It's a question of preparing the right way. About 90 per cent of performances are down to preparation - that's training every day and playing in lots of tournaments like this."
England: Carly Telford, Rachael Axon (Emma Thomas, 46 mins), Michelle Hickmott, Kylie Davies, Katie Holtham, Amy Kane, Lynda Shepherd (Brooke Chaplen, 46 mins), Dunia Susi, Danielle Bird (Gemma Davison, 70 mins), Kelly McDougall, Jodie Taylor.
Subs not used: Nicola Hobbs, Kimberley Dixson, Carla Cantrell, Jo Potter, Grace McCatty.
Goals: Danielle Bird 18