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We experienced just about every emotion going in our two games against Belgium and the Czech Republic but have come out a stronger side for it.
When we played Belgium, all the girls worked their socks off - I'm not sure if we deserved to win but we definitely didn't deserve to lose on the day. To lose in the manner that we did was devastating and hard to take. Belgium had more of the play throughout the whole game, in the first half we seemed to sit really deep and let them attack us which is something we didn't really want to do but the Belgians were good on the ball and played it out from the back. We just needed to counteract what they were doing and I think it took us until the second half to sort that out and do something about it.
In the second half, we stepped up as a unit and did a lot better. We had a great 15-20 minute spell and it looked like we were going to go on and win it, but that is not enough to win these kind of games. I knew when it was bouncing that Gwen would have nothing else in her head other than to smack it and she caught it sweetly, the keeper made a great save and it bounced back off the post but that's football. We got a few lucky breaks as well and Rhian saved us a few times, so it evened itself out. We had chances even to make it 1-1 and it just wasn't to be.
It was a brilliant goal from Belgium to be honest, she took it really well. But you could see it on the girls' faces, when something like that happens in the last few seconds of the game it is really soul destroying. It sounds really harsh but we just had to get over it and not dwell on it, just pick ourselves up and go on from there.
I can't explain how I felt at missing the game because of a thigh injury. It was one of the first games I haven't been able to play in and it was horrible at the beginning. I thought I could play for 20 minutes if desperate but I wasn't fit and to sit and watch the girls work so hard felt horrible - you don't feel it quite so much if you are not out on the pitch and I couldn't imagine what they were going through at the end of the game.
In contrast, the Czech Republic display was brilliant. I've always thought that we had the squad to perform and get a result like this one and finally it all came together. We had a little bit of luck along the way but we thoroughly deserved the win and it was a fantastic result and performance.
The big difference is that we were a lot more organised and knew exactly what we were doing and, most importantly, we kept the ball when we won it and made good transitions from defence to attack. When you defend and win it, and then keep it and go forward, the game is a lot easier - you don't do so much running and get tired and you're in control and that made a huge difference from Sunday.
The back four were absolutely solid, they were a bit nervous on Sunday but I thought Lauren Townsend was fantastic against the Czechs. Vinny (Emma Jones) and Nicola Cousins were excellent and Sally Wade, who is a bit of an unorthodox right back, did a great job so I take my hat off to the four of them.
I am going to claim the first goal - a 30-yard belter! To be honest, from those areas, I don't really aim for a person but for an area and put a couple there before. I think the goalkeeper came out too far and couldn't quite get back - she carried it over the line but everyone is saying it was my goal and I am going to get it!
Emma Plewa's goal was fantastic - in midfield, we pressed and pressed and pressed them higher up the pitch and Jayne made a 30-yard run to pressure them and Emma got the ball. I told her afterwards that I was screaming at her to go down under the challenge from the keeper because I thought she'd pushed it too far, but her finish was that of an experienced Premier League striker and you can't take that away from her. She's just come into the squad and loves playing with us, she's always busy on the pitch and the goal fully justified that.
Confidence was flowing and we were playing some lovely football, a few tricks (!) and we could have had a few more goals. I might be fighting Gwen to get the free kick rights back again after her effort though!
I was quite surprised that the referee let a few challenges go, simply because she was a European referee, but I thought she had a brilliant game - she was fair and consistent and did a very good job. It was a typical old school game where we were both flying in with tackles and it was good to see that we won't be bullied. We put in just as many tackles as they did and the manager said to us at half time that he was pleased with that.
The Czechs are seeded second and not many would have thought we could beat them, but we had the confidence to do so and the squad we have now can go on and contest teams and do things that Wales haven't been expected to do. We needed the last 18 months to sort things out and get to here, now it's up to us to move forward and with the players that we've got, we can do it.
We're disappointed that we haven't got four points from the two games but we have got three. The manager is absolutely delighted and it's good for us - we go into the next two games confident that we can get six points.
I can't wait to see the table and three points against our name - that will be absolutely brilliant!
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