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England defender Lindsay Johnson was satisfied with the outcome of this week's Euro 2009 draw and admits that the England squad are looking forward to the challenge next summer.
England were drawn in the same group as Sweden, Russia and Italy and Lindsay told Women's Soccer Scene: "It's a tough group, but I have looked at all three and none of them are easy.
"If you have qualified for the Finals, that makes you a good side and there are some good teams who will not be there. We knew whoever we got would be tough but we can be happy with the group - it is nice to miss Germany though!"
The standout match for England will be the one against Sweden, which is sure to conjure up memories of the clash in Euro 2005 which the Swedes won 1-0 to knock the host nation out. "We play Sweden quite regularly," says Lindsay, "they are good games and it is one to look forward to. We have come on a long way in the four years since we played them at Blackburn.
"We played Sweden last year in Cyprus and did well - they are always really strong and well organised but we have come on and are competing physically with these teams now, and we are just as good if not better than a lot of sides technically. No doubt the Arsenal players are looking forward to that one!
"Italy will be looked at as the weakest team in the group and maybe it is a good thing that we play them first. A win would be great for our confidence as it is important you get points in your first game, but we shall not be underestimating them at all. We cannot discount Russia either as they are an up and coming side with a lot of very good young players.
"It is good that the draw has now been done and it is very exciting. We have a lot planned for after Christmas and things will start running from there. We can take the experience from our qualifying group and put it to our advantage when the Finals begin."
Lindsay herself had a fine campaign during the qualifiers and has gone from a player who was originally not selected for the World Cup (she replaced the injured Steph Houghton) to being a first choice in the side which made it through to Finland. "I had a good season with Everton and it has paid off," she admits. "I managed to force my way into the team after a number of substitute appearances - Faye (White) got injured and I stepped into her shoes and really enjoyed it. Hopefully I can keep it going this season both for club and country."
After England reached the quarter finals of the World Cup last year, Lindsay is aware that there may be more expectation on the team to do well in the Finals. "People will probably expect us to do better as the media coverage improved during the World Cup," she said. "Other teams are going to expect it from us as well.
"We think more of ourselves as a team now and put pressure on us to do better each time. Now we want to prove ourselves and this is a great opportunity for us to do so."
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