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It makes something of a change to go into a game on the back of a big win! We are a lot more confident now going into our double header with the Czech Republic and Azerbaijan, knowing we are able to get a good result.
Our win over the Czechs last month has broken down a barrier for us, we have had the players and potential to beat these teams but not the results to see it through. It is brilliant for us to have points on the board after what we went through last time.
Now we must set our sights on playing the Czech Republic again on Sunday but things are sure to be different this time. The Czechs were off the boil last time and will be faster and sharper on their home turf, as well as having a point to prove. If we can hold them for the first 20 minutes and not concede a goal, we can press on from there.
The game at Llanelli was a very physical one and we can expect more the same this week as that is they way they play. The conditions helped us last time as the pitch was wet and slick, so hopefully we can have more of the same.
From there, we fly out to Azerbaijan to play the second game on Wednesday. In complete contrast, they are a completely unknown quantity to me - I have never played them at any level and have no idea whatsoever about them! They are bound to have one or two tricky players but we will be looking forward to that match, it will be a different kind of game to the one against the Czech Republic but we'll just go out and play and it will be fine.
We might also be in the unusual position of being favourites for that match for once - I don't know if that suits us, but it is a nice problem to have.
Unfortunately, we have been hit by a few injuries for the games so will be unable to have any continuity in team selection. Loren Dykes and Nicola Cousins are out through injury and a couple of others will have to have fitness tests when we meet up.
Nicola has been playing very well and Loren will be a miss - she has come on over the last 12-18 months and had a really good game against the Czechs before her injury. However it does give a chance for others to prove themselves so hopefully Emma Plewa can keep up her good form and Sharla Passiarello, who has come into the squad, has been scoring goals for Bristol Academy.
I think we'll be okay but we shall miss Loren's pace on the wing, although it gives an opportunity to show that we have got strength in depth.
It is very important that we push on from our last result and these two games are important ones from us as we are reacting to a good win and must make sure it wasn't a one-off. We've had a few injuries and it is not going to be like the home game with the Czechs, we will have to work really hard and settle down to play the way we want to. We want to play at that level again, more than we have done in the past.
Four points would be a good return from the two matches - we want six, but would jump at the chance to take four if offered them.
One other obstacle we will have to overcome is that of travelling. It is a long journey to Azerbaijan and there are only three days inbetween games so travelling might have an effect, but at least we do have a day to adjust after arriving there. If we use that day right, then we should be okay.
We've got three points on the board and sit in third place in the group right now. It was disappointing that we got nothing from the Belgium game but have showed we can play and get our ranking up in the future.
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