Hope Powell hails England display after victory over USA
England coach thrilled with her side's display after 2-1 victory over USA in World Cup warm-up match
England Women secured a morale-boosting 2-1 win over former world champions USA at Leyton Orient’s Matchroom Stadium on Saturday.
Hope Powell’s side started well against the world’s top ranked team on their first visit to England.
And an impressive first half attacking display coupled with some determined defending in the second will build significant confidence just three months before the start of the World Cup in Germany.
“That was a very professional performance and a big victory for us,” Powell said afterwards.
“We’ve beaten the number one team in the world, showed we can compete with the very best and set a benchmark for ourselves.
“But we mustn’t get carried away-there were lots of positives, but there’s also lots we need to work on ahead of the World Cup.
“A performance like that bodes well for the future though, and it’s a big confidence boost at a great time for the girls in our build-up to the World finals.”
England almost took the lead after five minutes when Rachel Yankey’s corner was flicked on at the near post by Casey Stoney, but Jess Clarke could only help it over the bar from close range with her back to goal.
Clarke made up for her miss moments later when the visitors failed to deal with a loose ball in the box and the Lincoln Ladies star volleyed England ahead from 10 yards out.
Everton captain Fara Williams came close to doubling the lead with a stunning free kick from 25 yards, but her effort rattled the crossbar after the faintest of touches from Nicole Barnhart.
England then doubled their lead after 26 minutes when Kelly Smith picked up a clearance in her own half and cruised some 50 yards before finding former Arsenal team-mate Yankey in acres of space on the left.
Yankey’s first touch was brilliant to set up the chance to finish, and she rifled a wonderful left-footed angled drive from inside the box into the roof of the net.
England showed a maturity in midfield and were confident going forward against their top-ranked opposition, with the American defence leaving huge spaces for the home side’s forwards to exploit.
But as Powell’s side continued to press, Smith gave the ball away in the centre circle just before half time.
Megan Rapinoe ran at the England defence and as they dropped off the Philadelphia Independence midfielder fired a low shot into the bottom right-hand corner from outside the box.
The second half was a more even contest as the USA launched wave after wave of attacks in an attempt to restore pride after their first-half battering.
It took 20 minutes for the USA to conjure up a clear chance on goal as England failed to clear a Rapinoe corner in the box, and substitute Stephanie Cox smashed a shot over the bar.
USA continued to lay siege on the England goal but failed to find a way through as Powell’s side held on for a famous win.