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Heading for the Algarve...
 Women's Football News 3 Mar 2009
Heading for the Algarve... - 3 Mar 2009 - Women's Football NewsIt will be great to play our first international matches of the year as we travel to compete in the Algarve Cup.
Although Wales have played in the tournament before in the past, this will be the first time that I will have taken part and I must admit I am really looking forward to it and meeting up with the girls again for the first time since November.
We know the first three of our four opponents and the final match will depend on where we finish in our group. Our games will be against Austria, Portugal and Poland and two of those three teams will be new opposition for me.
I have only played against Portugal in the past but, to be honest, I am quite happy with that. I played once against Austria for the Under-19s but know nothing about Poland so it will probably be a new experience for all of us. But these are teams that we feel we should beat and we would be disappointed if we lost to them.
It also means that we shall be playing four games in eight days and, although I have been training hard every day with AZ Alkmaar, my body is not looking forward to that! Rest and recovery will be as important to us as the games that we play and this will give us an insight as to what it would be like to play in a major tournament if we qualified for one. We are going to be missing a few key players in our squad, particularly in defence, so it will be important that everyone is available for all four games as it bound to get tougher as the week goes on.
However this will also open the door for some of the younger players and it is a really good chance for those that are coming through. Youngsters have no fear, so that might stand us in good stead, and I know that they are more than capable of playing at this level - they just lack the experience.
When the last FIFA World Rankings were announced, we found ourselves in 49th place and in the top 50 for the first time. This is something of a breakthrough for us as we have come a long way and the football we are playing is improving. We know what we can do and are hoping to achieve and the climb in the rankings is a reflection of the hard work everyone has put in and how the FAW are backing us, which has been a big help.
It is going to be a big week for all of us and hopefully a memorable one, perhaps none moreso than Cheryl Foster who is just two caps away from reaching the 50 mark. This would make her only the second after Kath Morgan to do so and it would be a fantastic achievement for Cheryl, who is a very good player as well as a very big and important player for Wales. Cheryl is having a great season for Liverpool and has scored some very important goals for them and she has been a great servant for her country who deserves 50 caps - I hope she plays many more and scores some vital goals for us!

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