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Despite losing the opening game of Euro 2009 2-1 to Italy, Hope Powell believes that her players will come back stronger when they face Russia on Friday.
England had taken a first half lead through a Fara Williams penalty, despite losing Casey Stoney to a red card after just 28 minutes of the first period. Italy hit back with a goal from Patrizia Panico eleven minutes into the second half, before a stunning effort from Alessia Tuttino secured all three points for the Italians.
Hope remains confident that her players can respond to the setback and said after the game: "The girls are shattered, but they'll bounce back. If we want to stay in the tournament we will have to bounce back, and we intend to.
"We wanted to win the game, if you try and sit back when you are outnumbered then you are going to be bombarded with shots from everywhere and players running on.
"So we wanted to force them back as much as we could, and we did it admirably for 56 minutes until they got their first goal.
"You have to say that the red card has obviously changed the game against us."
Hope gave credit to her players for their effort in the face of a numerical disadvantage, but admitted that it was difficult to complain about the result. "We took the lead with ten players, I take my hat off to the players I thought they were excellent and in a way I thought they played better as ten players - particularly at the start of the second half," she added. "It's another learning experience, very tough, but I think it's really hard playing a team of Italy's quality with just ten players.
"It was always going to be hard, but the longer the game went on, you just kept hoping that we could hold and be bold, and we did that. It was just a cracking goal, their second goal, that won the match. We can't complain, the result didn't go our way today, but we still have two more games to go.
"Credit to Italy, I thought they played well and certainly when we had ten players they took the game to us. They got the result they wanted, so congratulations to them but we live to fight another day."
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