On Wednesday, England Women will aim to qualify for the European Championship Finals, and Steph Houghton believes the Three Lions are in the right frame of mind to do so by beating a Croatia side ranked 63rd in the world.
A victory over Dean Klafuric’s side will seal a place at Euro 2013 and what would be England’s fifth straight appearance at a major tournament. The last time the two sides met, in March, England ran out comfortable 6-0 victors with Houghton scoring twice.
The full-back was also one of the stars of Team GB Women over the summer, scoring three goals in the group stage, and although Olympic fever is still gripping Great Britain her attention has now shifted to England and the quest to make it to Sweden next year.
She said: “It’s a massive game for us.
“We want to get the win and qualify for another major tournament. To be part of a tournament for the third straight year is something we are all desperate to do.
“We just need to make sure we prepare properly and hopefully we can get the three points we need.
She added: “People will probably expect us to get the win but it’s important we remain focused all game because it only takes one mistake from us or one attack from them and then we could be in trouble.
“But we all know what we need to do and I’m confident that we’ve got the ability and the mindset to go out and show that.”
Squad in full
Karen Bardsley (Linköping), Rachel Brown (Everton), Siobhan Chamberlain (Bristol Academy), Carly Telford (Chelsea).
Laura Bassett (Birmingham City), Sophie Bradley (Lincoln Ladies), Steph Houghton (Arsenal), Claire Rafferty (Chelsea), Alex Scott (Arsenal), Casey Stoney (Lincoln Ladies), Dunia Susi (Chelsea).
Anita Asante (Göteborg), Jess Clarke (Lincoln Ladies), Karen Carney (Birmingham City), Jordan Nobbs (Arsenal), Jill Scott (Everton), Fara Williams (Everton), Rachel Yankey (Arsenal).
Eniola Aluko (Birmingham City), Toni Duggan (Everton), Kelly Smith* (Arsenal), Rachel Williams (Birmingham City).
* withdrew through injury
photos Janos Schmidt