Hope Powell and keeper make schoolboy errors on Newsround - International - Football - The Independent

Hope Powell and keeper make schoolboy errors on Newsround

 

Linkoping

It was the "absolutely, why not?" that did it. Hope Powell's opening gambit when asked, on the children's TV programme Newsround, whether the England women's team could beat the men if they played them has sparked fierce debate and a host of contemptuous comments hurled in the women's coach's direction.

Powell, interviewed by a schoolboy for the BBC show ahead of the women's Euro 2013 tournament in Sweden, where on Friday England lost their first group game 3-2 to Spain, quickly qualified her answer by adding: "Physically the guys are obviously a lot stronger than the women, but if we took it on technical ability we're as good as the men."

The reaction to her comments surprised the coach who has driven the development of the women's game in England since taking charge of the national team in 1998 and who, in reality, does not believe that her team would beat Roy Hodgson's men or indeed any top professional male team.

Powell said: "If anybody out there took those comments seriously then they're stupid. When a young boy who's a bit nervous is interviewing you about football you try to make them feel comfortable, so, 'Can women beat men? Why not?' was a bit of fun, it was said tongue in cheek. Am I serious about it? No I am not. If you're talking about elite athletes the men are too fast, too strong, too powerful for us, but our players are technically gifted and so when a young boy – who incidentally can play mixed football up to the age of 14 or 15 – asks you that question you try to make light of it.

"Would we beat a men's team 11 v 11? I doubt it. But it's not about being competitive against the men, we're just trying to do a good job with women's football and right now we're trying to be competitive in a European Championship. We're competing at the highest level and we want recognition in our own right, not to be compared with the men's game."

Whether the technique of female footballers should be compared to that of their male counterparts is a moot point, but the technical skills of Powell's players were brought into question against Spain. Eleven places lower than England at 18th in the world rankings, the Spaniards out-thought and out-passed England in a game where their victory was deserved even though it came via an own goal by goalkeeper Karen Bardsley four minutes into stoppage time.

Bardsley, outstanding in England's unbeaten qualifying campaign for the finals, allowed the ball to bounce off her arm and then face to drop over the line.

Powell, looking ahead to Monday's second group game, against Russia, asserted that lessons will be learned from the defeat. There's also perhaps a lesson to be learned from her Newsround appearance: as they say, "never work with children or animals".

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape
music
News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
filmMatt Damon in talks to return
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Life and Style
Bono and Apple CEO Tim Cook announced U2's surprise new album at the iPhone 6 launch
tech(but you can't escape: Bono is always on your iPhone)
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
Arts and Entertainment
Fringe show: 'Cilla', with Sheridan Smith in the title role and Aneurin Barnard as her future husband Bobby Willis
tvEllen E Jones on ITV's 'Cilla'
News
i100
Sport
Tim Wiese
sport
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
News
The ecological reconstruction of Ikrandraco avatar is shown in this illustration courtesy of Chuang Zhao. Scientists on September 11, 2014 announced the discovery of fossils in China of a type of flying reptile called a pterosaur that lived 120 millions years ago and so closely resembled those creatures from the 2009 film, Avatar that they named it after them.
SCIENCE
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week