Arsenal LFC are looking to play in the UEFA Women's Champions League final in their home city of London this May and England manager Hope Powell hopes they are in it "for the long haul".
The Gunners are the only English side to claim the European club title, in 2007, but on Tuesday they will be in the quarter-final draw, streamed live on UEFA.com from 13.30CET, for a record 11th time. To make it they overcame 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam after a pulsating 3-2 round of 16 second-leg win in Germany. Powell was on hand to see a hat-trick from England striker Kelly Smith, among six of her squad in action.
"I was at that game, it was a pretty amazing game actually, it was end to end stuff, a great work ethic, great pace, from both sides," Powell told UEFA.com. "And I think the fact that Arsenal did so well shows the depth that we've perhaps got coming through in some of our English teams. I hope they progress and go as far as possible. Obviously the final is in England at Stamford Bridge, so I am hoping they stay in it for the long haul."
That match will be played on 23 May, two days before the men's UEFA Champions League final at Wembley, following on from the 2011 women's decider at Craven Cottage. The potential for a move to a larger stadium was shown by the huge crowds that watched the women's football matches at the recent Olympic games at Wembley and across the United Kingdom.
"It's fantastic, really fantastic," Powell said. "It'll be great if Arsenal stay in it, certainly if it's a home nation team that actually are in the final, I think that helps boost the interest. But whoever gets to the final, certainly if history is anything to go by, the games have been top quality. They really showcase women's football throughout Europe, which is brilliant."
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