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We must believe in ourselves - Hope
 Women's Football News 28 Sep 2006
 
We must believe in ourselves - Hope - 28 Sep 2006 - Women's Football NewsEngland Head Coach Hope Powell is looking for her players to go out and express themselves when they face France in 'Le Crunch' - the showdown World Cup Qualifier on Saturday.
 
After a near perfect record so far in Group Five, with five wins and a draw, scoring 28 and conceding just one, England face their final test to make it to China next year.
 
Despite the significance of the game, Hope is convinced that her players will rise to the challenge.
 
She told www.TheFA.com: "We have to go out there to win and express ourselves, it's very dangerous to go for the draw. Hopefully we can put on a performance like we did against Holland.
 
"With the current run of form we have to go into the game believing in ourselves and believing that we are capable of getting the result we want.
 
"On the back end of playing Holland and how well we played in that game, I think we go into the game full of confidence."
 
Hope also believes that all the focus will be on the hosts. "There is more pressure on France to qualify from the group due to their past results and world ranking. I think they were favourites from the outset," she explained.
 
"For us it is about staying focused, it is the last game of the group and we go for it."
 
The Three Lions are also looking to make up for a disappointing performance when they met France at Ewood Park in March, the game ended 0-0 and Hope wants to see a different performance this time around.
 
"I think if we are honest with ourselves about the last game with France, we did not perform in that game," she admits.
 
"Brownie (Rachel Brown) got player of the match and that would suggest all sorts to me. After the game, and even at half time, I said to the girls: 'Please don't tell me this side are better than you'.
 
"As the game went on in spells we started to believe in ourselves. We can't underestimate France, they are a decent side - but we are as good as they are."
 
No matter what the result on Saturday evening, the match with France will represent the end of an immensely succesful qualifying campaign that has really lifted Women's Football in quality and profile throughout the country.
 
Reflecting on what has been done to change things, Hope is determined to continue that good work regardless of whether they qualify for China or not.
 
"It's been a lot of hard work over the years, and I have to give credit to the girls because we have had to change the culture of women's football," Hope told TheFA.com.
 
"Talking from when I was a player, I found that physically we weren't fit enough and then became a manager and saw teams losing games in the last 15 minutes.
 
"We had to change the culture of training twice a week to training every day. We gave players personalised training schedules so that they could last against the top teams.
 
"They are gifted and they can play football, but if you are too knackered in a game to compete then you are not going to shine against the likes of Germany."
(www.TheFA.com)

 
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