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Football - 17. September 2010.

Hope's relief

Glenn Lavery

Thursday, 16 September, 2010

Head Coach reflects on play-off victory in Switzerland.


England Women's Head Coach Hope Powell couldn't hide her delight at leading the team to another major tournament following Thursday's thrilling 3-2 play-off success in Switzerland, but also revealed that relief was the main emotion after an eventful match in Wohlen.

Leading 2-0 from Sunday's first leg, England were in control after goals from Kelly Smith and Eni Aluko put them 2-0 up on the night but the hosts made something of a spirited comeback and Powell's team had to work for their victory.

It was secured though, as Fara Williams' penalty early in the second half proved to be the winner and enough to confirm England's attendance at next summer's World Cup in Germany. 

"I'm relieved, really," said Powell after the game. 

"There was drama as usual, we never quite make it easy for ourselves, but I have to applaud the girls; the win, work ethic, attitude - fantastic.

"I'm pleased we're there. It hasn't quite sunk in yet. I'm just relieved. We're there. We did a job."

The win didn't come without controversy though, as England were reduced to ten players in the second half as goalkeeper Rachel Brown was sent off following a skirmish with Swiss forward Ramona Bachmann. There appeared to be little contact between the two following Switzerland's second goal, but the referee saw fit to show a red card to Brown.

It made things that little bit tougher, but Powell believes her side's previous experiences helped see them through.

"I didn't see it," revealed Powell. "When they scored I turned my back and then I saw the red card, so I was a little confused. Rachel said she didn't touch her and if that's the case, we will be appealing.

"We had been there before - we lost a player against Italy in the first game of the European Championship. The fact that we had had those experiences stood us in good stead in this game.

"We knew exactly what we were going to do. Just re-organise, re-group and we were in the lead so we knew they had to score more goals. We were pretty confident, we just knew it would be tough. Its hard work playing 10 v 11, but credit to the girls, they were magnificent."


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