A draw and possibly even a one-goal defeat against Sweden in Turku would be enough for England to qualify for the quarter-finals of UEFA WOMEN'S EURO 2009™ but manager Hope Powell says they are going for the win and she believes they can do it.
Sweden have defeated Russia 3-0 and Italy 2-0 to ensure progress and one more point would give them first place in Group C. England, beaten 2-1 by Italy before their thrilling 3-2 comeback win against Russia, could pip Sweden with another victory, but a point would make sure of progress, as at least one of the two best third-placed teams, and a one-goal loss would only end their campaign if Russia were to beat Italy 3-2 or by the same margin but higher scoring.
"We have enough about us to compete against any team," Powell said. "This tournament has proved that any team can beat any other and we should be no different. Sweden have not conceded a goal so they are obviously strong in defence and their forward line is experienced but we are really only focusing on ourselves. The last two games have been very tough but we are still here. We showed a lot of character and resolve with ten players against Italy when we had most of the game and then to come back against Russia says a lot about us."
However, history is against England in Turku as in 19 meetings with Sweden they have lost 12 and one just once, the second leg of final of the inaugural UEFA tournament in 1984 in which Powell played, and even that ended in a penalty shoot-out defeat. Among those reverses was a 1-0 loss that ended hosts England's 2005 European campaign in their last group game but Powell insisted: "We know Sweden are among the favourites to win the trophy but we have progressed in recent years and hopefully we can bring our best play to the fore."
Powell is expected to restore Casey Stoney at left-back following her red card in the first game but it is not certain that Anita Asante will return in the middle after injuring her knee against Italy while Sweden defender Sara Larsson may be missing again with a hamstring strain. Winning the group will mean avoiding Germany in the quarter-finals but Sweden coach Thomas Dennerby said his team have another motivation. "We are just concentrating on playing our 11th game in this competition [including qualifiers] without losing," he said. "I'm expecting a tough match, a fast-paced match. I've been impressed by England, mostly their attacking play. Their defending has not been at the level we have seen before but we know it will be hard."
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