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Football - 05. September 2009.

Powell salutes Englands character

Semi-finals - Match kick-offs are listed in CET












By Glenn Lavery - Thursday, 03 September, 2009

Hope Powell 'delighted' at reaching the last four.

Hope Powell saluted her England side as they reached the semi-final of the European Championship for the first time in their history.

An Eniola Aluko double, either side of a Fara Williams strike sent England on their way to a 3-2 victory over tournament hosts, Finland. Aluko opened the scoring with a cool finish in the 14th minute before Williams doubled the lead after the break. Annica Sjolund gave Finland hope on 69 minutes, but from the restart, Aluko produced an outstanding solo effort to restore the two-goal advantage. Linda Sallstrom's late goal set up a nervy final few minutes, but Powell's side held on for a landmark victory.

"I thought we battled fantastically today," Powell said after the match.

"We managed to silence the home crowd early, which was important, but Finland understandably came at us in the last few minutes and I was really pleased with how we coped with the pressure. It was a really tough contest and we’re just absolutely delighted to have come through it,"

“The girls are elated, obviously, but very, very tired. The last few minutes were demanding, but we’ll rest for a few days now and be ready to go again for the semi-final.

“It’s as far as we’ve got at Senior level, so we’ll wait and see who we face before we start our preparations properly, but we’re really looking forward to it.”

England will play the winner of the Netherlands v France semi-final.
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