Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Powell's Hopeful of World Cup Success

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Powell's Hopeful of World Cup Success

Article excerpt

HOPE Powell thinks the England squad she has chosen for this month's World Cup is the strongest she has ever selected during 13 years in charge.

Powell named the 21-strong squad she hopes will be able to give England its first major championship win in women's football - with Sunderland-born Everton star Jill Scott included.

Recent victories over the United States and Sweden, ranked first and fifth in the world respectively, mean Powell's squad are among the favourites for the competition, which begins on June 26.

The 44-year-old's reason for optimism is backed up by the fact she has been able to select a squad that can boast 1041 senior caps between them.

She has also been boosted by the return of fit-again captain Faye White, who has not played for six weeks due to injury.

Powell guided England to the final of the European Championships two years ago only to see her team collapse to a 6-2 defeat to Germany.

An undefeated qualifying campaign and a recent triumph over the US appear to show the squad have moved on quickly from that disappointment, and Powell is more than happy with the party she has chosen.

"I think this is the best squad I've had," Powell said. "The depth is better and the versatility of the players is a brilliant thing to have in your locker.

"The girls have the experience of playing in major tournaments, whether it be at youth level or in the Euros, and our average amount of caps is 49. We've got a few girls that can change games too so I'm encouraged by that."

Powell admits her team, ranked eighth in the world, have been boosted by the 2-1 victory over America, but knows the win will mean nothing if they fail to get through a relatively easy group containing Mexico, New Zealand and Japan. "The confidence levels have definitely been raised. The fact that we beat the USA, and the way in which we beat them, proves that we can actually compete with the best in the world," she added.

"That doesn't mean we're always going to win but we know we can win. …

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