Mark Sampson congratulated his England Women’s team after they completed their World Cup qualifying group with a 100 per cent record, winning all ten matches.
The Three Lions qualified for Canada 2015 with a game to spare, but they concluded their campaign on Wednesday with a resounding 10-0 win over Montenegro - England’s biggest win since 2005.
Eniola Aluko led the way with a hat-trick, her first for her country, which took her World Cup tally to 13.
Montenegro 0-10 England
FIFA Women's World Cup 2015
Group 6 qualifier
Wednesday 17 September 2014
Karen Carney notched a brace before missing a late penalty, Toni Duggan also scored a double, while there was a first senior goal for 21-year-old Alex Greenwood. Lucy Bronze netted the fourth and Jo Potter scored the final goal in added time on her first international appearance since 2007.
Sampson told FATV: “We’re delighted, in terms of the performance today and the overall campaign. To get through a campaign winning every match, conceding only goal and scoring the amount of goals we have you have got to give huge credit to the players and staff.
“Today was another game where we had to be professional, show our quality and I thought for large parts we did that. We were rewarded with some fantastic goals and obviously a big scoreline.
“I’ve got to give the forward players huge credit [for] the creativity they showed today [and] the ingenuity [they showed] around the penalty area to work some opportunities against a packed Montenegro defence. There was some fantastic football in there.
“Going forward now we know that if we are creating those chances, when they come we will put them away.”
Sampson was appointed as Hope Powell’s successor in December 2013 and he oversaw the final six qualifiers – during which time England scored 32 goals and conceded just once.
The former Bristol Academy boss has handed senior team debuts to Greenwood, Demi Stokes and Lizzie Durack and has recalled Lianne Sanderson and Jo Potter from the international wilderness.
He expressed delight at how his team have embraced his new ideas and believes they are continuing to grow with next summer’s showpiece event less than nine months away.
Sampson added: “This team is having lots of fun at the moment. There’s a great sense of excitement and enthusiasm amongst the group. They want to get on the field, they want to improve, they want to play for each other. They really enjoy playing for each other, you can see that [in] the way they play.
“You can see there is a real spirit amongst this group. They want themselves to do well, they want the team to do well. The team is in a good place and I’m delighted that they have come together.
"We need to continue that now because we have got a long way to go. Come the World Cup we want to be ready, play well and play exciting football.”
He continued: “We are in a good place and hopefully now the message will get around the country. Players will be excited to try and be a part of this team and that will help the whole of the women’s game. The [standard of] the Super League will go up, the performance level of the players will go up and it will be a great place for me to try my best to pick the best team.”
With the qualifying campaign over, Sampson can now start his World Cup preparations in earnest. The finals draw is in Ottawa on 6 December – but before then his side will entertain the two-time world champions and eight-time European champions Germany at Wembley on Sunday 23 November.
Sampson said: “What a great game to look forward to for all of us in terms of the quality of the opponents, the calibre of the opponents [and] the enormity of the occasion. The players can’t wait.
“The way this team is [playing] at the moment I know the biggest emotion they are going to have is one of energy, one of enthusiasm, one of excitement towards that challenge because this team is ready for those type of challenges.
“We are going to go there and do our best to try and get the win.”
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