European Championship 2013: Russia is now a must-win match for England, says Hope Powell

 

Linkoping, Sweden

Hope Powell’s England face Russia this evening in their second European Championship group game, and it is a “must-win” fixture according to the national coach after Friday’s 3-2 defeat by Spain.

At the Euro finals four years ago Powell’s side also lost the opening match, against Italy, but then beat Russia 3-2 in their second outing and went on to reach the final, where they were beaten by Germany. Now, following a poor display against Spain, they are preparing to face a Russian side that also lost their first match, 3-1 to group favourites France.

A second defeat tonight would almost certainly lead to England’s elimination from the tournament before they meet France, who they have not beaten in 13 matches since 1974, in their final group game, and Powell said: “I think that, realistically, we have to win the game if we want to stay in the competition. It’s a must-win match.”

Powell has spent the last two days trying to rebuild her team’s confidence after the pain of the Spain defeat. With several key players, among them the playmaker Kelly Smith, less than 100 per cent fit, she is likely to name an unchanged line-up despite Friday’s nervy, error-laden performance. The defeat was watched by a crowd of just 5,190 in the Linkoping Arena but a TV audience of 1.2m in England.

“When you come into a major tournament,” added Powell, “you’re expected to do well and with everybody rooting for you at home that’s a lot of pressure. The players looked quite nervous, and anxiety can sometimes be quite draining. It’s been a case of reminding players, ‘actually, you are good players, you went 11 games unbeaten before we came to Sweden’. It’s been about reinforcing those positive messages.

“The situation is obviously not ideal, losing the first game, but we’ve been here before. Russia were difficult in 2009 and I expect another tough match, but I’ve no doubt that everybody will give 110 per cent and if the players go out and play the way they can then I’ll be happy. If we don’t perform though, we’ll be in trouble.”

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss