Author Topic: Powell ready for tough test  (Read 1537 times)

Offline David

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Powell ready for tough test
« on: January 25, 2007, 10:06:54 AM »
England have a mighty task ahead of them as they begin preparations for the 2007 Women's World Cup finals with a first-ever appearance at the China Cup.

Their opponents in the tournament, China, the USA and Germany, are the three favourites to lift the world crown when September's finals are also held in China.

But national coach Hope Powell said: "To play this quality of opposition, especially in the environment we're going to be playing in come September, can only be good for us.

"The matches will give us an indicator of the kind of tests we'll be given at the finals and the trip will also enable us to experience the culture, the climate and the food over there."

Powell's team meet the host nation on Friday then America on Sunday and Germany on Tuesday. All matches are to be played at the 60,000-seater Guangzhou City Stadium.

Apart from missing the injured captain Faye White, England will be at full strength as they start the build-up to their first World Cup finals since 1995.

But even at full strength Powell's team will find it tough going, especially against German and American teams ranked first and second in the world respectively.

They have lost all 15 games they have previously played against Germany, while against the USA they have lost six in succession since their last victory in 1988.

The Chinese are more of an unknown quantity, England's only previous game against them having ended in a defeat on penalties at the 2005 Algarve Cup.

But they are ninth in the Fifa rankings, three places higher than England, and Powell admitted: "It's going to be very difficult against some of the best teams in the world.

"It will be a test of character and resilience but will give us vital tournament experience. I'll be happy if we can acquit ourselves well and produce three good performances."

Match schedule:

Friday 26 January: China v England, USA v Germany
Sunday 28 January: China v Germany, England v USA
Tuesday 30 January: Germany v England, China v USA

England squad: Brown (Everton), Chamberlain (Bristol Academy), Unitt (Everton), Johnson (Everton), Phillip (Arsenal), Stoney (Charlton), Scott (Arsenal), Asante (Arsenal), Scott (Everton), Williams (Everton), Exley (Doncaster), Chapman (Arsenal), K. Smith (Arsenal), Westwood (Everton), Handley (Everton), Carney (Arsenal), Sanderson (Arsenal), Aluko (Charlton), S. Smith (Leeds), Yankey (Arsenal).