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The World Cup qualifiers we played against the Czech Republic and Azerbaijan last week both ended in frustrating 2-1 defeats for us but with contrasting performances in the two matches.
The match against the Czech Republic was very much like the home game but this time it went the other way. We had a bad 25 minutes at the start of the game and let in two stupid goals from set pieces, both scored by the same player.
I managed to get us back into the game the first time by scoring an equaliser, making it two in two games for me. It came from a good move right from the back, with good link up play and I thought I had scored when I volleyed it goalwards - I was already celebrating but the goalkeeper pulled off a ridiculous save! Fortunately the rebound came straight back to me and I was able to tuck it home with my left foot.
We were creating a lot of chances and we spent most of the second half trying to get a goal but it never came. Emma Plewa almost scored but was denied by a good save and we always looked threatening but couldn't get the ball in.
At the end of the game we were disappointed because we knew we could have won it, but mainly because we conceded two sloppy goals and that cost us. The pitch was very big and there was a lot of space, so we struggled a bit to adjust to that. We missed Nicola Cousins at the back as we have had stability in the last few games, although Kerrie Manley came in and did a good job in her place.
In complete contrast, our performance in Azerbaijan was not good. We didn't do the basics right and didn't create anything and once again we let in two goals from set pieces.
We managed to take the lead with a goal from Helen Lander but let them back into it, after they scored their goals we didn't pass it and move the ball enough and we let them frustrate us. They sat back on the edge of their penalty area and we couldn't get through them.
We had to do a lot of travelling inbetween the games and that didn't help much, the time difference is a bit of a nightmare but there are no excuses - we should be winning these kind of games. It was not a place where we would like to go again, it rained hard throughout the match but the pitch was very nice.
There were a few players missing and we had to rely on less experienced players for the game, but we have to take responsibility for what happened.
Overall, we went home disappointed not to have got anything - there were positives from the Czech Republic game but not from Azerbaijan.
We have to regroup now as we have two massive games in March. We simply have to beat Belgium in our next game, nothing else will do, and then we have our prestigious match with Sweden, when we can gauge how far we have progressed.
As a squad and team, we have to get back to how we were before the Azerbaijan game, some of the players, particularly the more experienced ones, have to stand up and show that we are a better side than what we showed in the last match.
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