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Hope Powell was naturally delighted with England's dramatic 2-1 extra time victory over Holland in the semi finals of the UEFA Women's Championships.
The England Head Coach said after the game: "To be honest, I'm absolutely thrilled. It has taken a lot of hard work to get here and I think tonight we deserved to go through to the Final.
"The Dutch played a system that was very hard to break down and it was frustrating for our players, we had to be very patient. I think we could have killed the game earlier than we did, we missed some very good chances and had a couple of shouts for a penalty as well so it was a relief when we scored before we had the lottery of penalties.
"I'm just really glad it's over and we got there in the end. Credit has to go to the players, who battled hard tonight against a very organised and disciplined side and didn't panic, even when we it looked like it was not to be our day."
Eyebrows were raised about the omission of Karen Carney from the starting line up, with Leeds Carnegie midfielder Jess Clarke replacing her on the wing, but Hope felt it was the right move. "It was a tactical decision tonight," she replied. "We thought Jess had something to offer us tonight against their two full backs and she competed well and gave them a thorough test.
"Jess was a good outlet throughout the game and we knew the option of having Karen come on against tiring full backs would be a good one for us, and we felt our plan worked. Karen did very well when she came on and was a real handful."
Hope admitted that this moment was a huge achievement in her career but was quick to praise the support from her team of staff. "I was fortunate to play in a final as a player and this has been equally thrilling from a personal perspective," she enthused. "But this is not just for me, this is for all the medical staff, the technicians, the operations staff, even the chef who is with us, they have worked so hard to get us where we are and I want to thank them."
Hope immediately turned her thoughts to Thursday.
"To be honest, we are there and that is all that matters to us, we do not care who we play. Germany may be favourites tomorrow evening, but Norway will be up for it and it will be a good game to watch. We set a target privately of playing six games and we have reached that target but the ultimate aim is to win this competition, that is our objective and that is what we will be going for on Thursday night."
The FA Director of Football Development Sir Trevor Brooking was at the game and heaped praise on the team.
"I and everyone at the FA are delighted for Hope, the staff and the players," he said. "I thought it was thoroughly deserved against a very good defensive side. We knew it would be tough and they were so difficult to break down. It was disappointing we conceded an equaliser minutes after we got our noses in front and when we missed all those chances, it was easy to think that it might not be our day. But credit to the players, they kept going, stayed patient and got their rewards.
"Now we have to focus on the Final. Getting there is an achievement in itself but it's now all up for grabs and an extra days rest will hopefully balance out the demands of going to extra time tonight. I'm sure Hope and the players will not be content with just reaching a Final, there's a huge opportunity to go one step further."
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