By Tony Leighton - Thursday, 04 March, 2010
Women's Head Coach salutes pleasing end to demanding week in Cyprus Cup.
The Cyprus Cup
A. Scott 8, 58, White 90+2
Brown (o.g. 43), Camporese 64
International Friendly Tournament
Monday 1 March 2010
GSP Stadium, Nicosia, Cyprus
Hope Powell, was in buoyant mood after her England Women's side ended their Cyprus Cup campaign with a 3-2 win against Italy in the play-off for fifth place.
Powell’s team won the competition last year but had a much-weakened squad this time round, with five regulars from the usual starting line-up missing.
Powell said: “It was a pleasing end to a really demanding week, even though we left it late to get the winning goal.
“We spoke before the match of taking the best bits out of our first three games into this one, and that’s what the girls did. We’re still conceding too many goals, but it was good to put three in the net and we might have had more with the chances we created.
“We’ve lost only one of four games and winning this last one will help confidence levels for the World Cup qualifiers we’ve got coming up against Austria and Spain."
Powell will hope that her team are tighter at the back while more clinical in front of the opposition’s goal in those two crucial qualifiers.
Defensive errors led to both of Italy’s goals while at the other end chances went begging, though captain Faye White’s stoppage time winner came from a fine move.
Powell said: “We’ve not had a consistent back four [in terms of personnel] over the last few matches and that hasn’t helped.
“But we don’t seem able to maintain a lead at the moment and that’s something we’ve got to work on.
“We’re certainly creating lots of scoring opportunities, and although we’re not converting enough of them into goals it was encouraging to get three today.”
Powell is now set to turn her attention to the meetings with Austria on 25 March and Spain a week later.
“We’re still going to be missing players like Karen Carney and Anita Asante because of injury,” said the Head Coach.
“But youngsters such as Jess Clarke and Dunia Susi have done well here in Cyprus so we know we’ve got players who can come in and do a job.
“This tournament has more or less cemented my thoughts on the squad I’ll choose for the two World Cup qualifiers, which are both vital games.
“With the qualification process very difficult for next year’s tournament I feel that we’ve got to beat both Austria and Spain.”
1 Rachel Brown (13 Karen Bardsley, 68), 18 Dunia Susi, 5 Faye White (C), 3 Casey Stoney, 14 Rachel Unitt, 6 Laura Bassett, 8 J. Scott, 10 K. Smith (16 Lianne Sanderson, 46), 2 A. Scott, 7 Jess Clarke, 17 Rachel Yankey
Substitutes not used 11 S. Smith, 12 Lindsay Johnson, 15 Jody Handley, 19 Emily Westwood, 20 Dani Buet.