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England Women 1 Mexico Women 1: match report

Read a full match report of the Women’s World Cup Group B game between England and Mexico in Wolfsburg on Monday June 27, 2011.



Typical, just typical. Just like their male counterparts, the England women’s team flattered to deceive when they opened their World Cup campaign in Germany in disappointing fashion on Monday.

A year after Fabio Capello’s England got off on the wrong foot by drawing against the United States in the World Cup finals in South Africa, Hope Powell’s charges showed all too familiar traits in Wolfsburg.

They even threw in a goalkeeping error to show that the likes of Robert Green and David Seaman do not have a monopoly of dropping clangers on football’s biggest stage.

Having got their noses in front when Fara Williams nodded in Karen Carney’s outswinging corner in the 21st minute, England lost their way against Mexico. After surrendering the lead they ended up holding on for a draw in a performance that bodes badly for their prospects of success.

After Williams’s opener, England threatened to extend the advantage in a flurry of attacks. The outlook appeared promising for Powell’s team but then they were hit by a proverbial sucker punch in the 34th minute.

Monica Ocampo tried her luck from 30 yards and the ball flew past a hitherto under-worked Karen Bardsley whose flapping suggested she had been caught cold. She would have had plenty of accusing fingers pointing in her direction.

Eni Aluko missed a sitter after the break and England then ran out of steam as well as inspiration as the Mexicans seized the initiative. Indeed, it took a brave late clearance from captain Faye White to divert a dangerous-looking shot from Stephany Mayor.

That incident, and the fact that on the hour Mexico had legitimate penalty appeals waved away by the Peruvian referee, Silvia Reyes, when Alina Garciamendez was fouled by Rachel Unitt, had Powell expressing relief at the outcome.

“I’m glad we didn’t lose, that’s the main thing,” Powell said. “We probably had more of the possession but it was a great strike which pulled them back into the game. We’re disappointed we didn’t win the game but pleased we didn’t lose it.

“There is some work to do but we go again for the next one. I think we can play better. It is the warmest it has been since we’ve been here and our players struggled a little bit with the heat. But no excuses, our players can play better and we’ll have to play better if we want to stay in the tournament.”

Powell expressed disappointment at Bardsley’s failure to deal with Ocampo’s speculative effort.

“Their goal flew in but really and honestly we would have expected her to save that,” Powell added afterwards. “She’s bitterly disappointed and that brought them straight back into the game because up until that point in the game we dominated but it is all about scoring goals.”

The result intensified the pressure on England as they prepare for their second Group B game on Friday against New Zealand, who began their campaign with a 2-1 defeat by Japan.

Powell will be hoping that White can inspire her team after allaying fears that her captain had been substituted late on due to injury.

“It is just more fatigue. She has had an injury so we are just trying to protect her,” Powell added. “If you are tired you are prone to injuries. I am happy with Faye’s performance considering she has been out for a while.”

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