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Friday, 23 March, 2001, 09:58 GMT
Smith triple fires England to victory
Sue Smith
Sue Smith dedicated her hat-trick to her dad
Hat-trick hero Sue Smith hailed her team-mates after England had beaten Spain 4-2 in a friendly at Kenilworth Road

"To score for England was fantastic," said Smith. "I think to score three goals in any game is really good but to score for your country is the greatest feeling ever - and to score three is even better."

The Tranmere captain added: "You can't forget the great all-round team performance. The team played really well tonight and I think as a team as well, which we haven't really done of late.

This was really for my Dad...and I'll definitely be giving him the match-ball and shirt
  Sue Smith

"We played together, for each other and I think that definitely played a major part in our win."

Smith also dedicated her performance to her father, who has been ill over the past few weeks.

"This was really for my Dad. He said go out and score. So it was really for my Dad and I'll definitely be giving him the match-ball and shirt," she said

There was some bad news for England, with Tara Proctor facing a spell on the sidelines after being carried off midway through the first half.

"She was studded and it opened up gash. It could be ligaments we're not to sure," said coach Hope Powell. "But I think she will be out for a little while to be honest."

England could have been two goals up inside six minutes only for the woodwork and wayward finishing to deny them.

Hope Powell
Powell fears the worst for Proctor
Then, completely against the run of play, the visitors went ahead on 11 minutes following a terrible mistake by goalkeeper Leanne Hall.

Left-back Rachel Unitt's clearance was collected by Itziar Gurrutxaga and the midfielder fired a shot from 20 yards that went through the legs of Hall as she bent to gather it.

England bounced back six minutes later when Kelly Smith rifled home from the edge of the box.

And Sue Smith made it 2-1 when she curled a left-foot shot past keeper Elixabete Capa on the half-hour mark.

Spain began the second half much brighter drew level when substitute Paulina Ferre Serres rounded Hall to tap the ball home.

Two goals in quick succession by Sue Smith allowed England to forge ahead.

After 67 minutes, she made a fantastic run down the left flank before curling the ball back into the top right-hand corner.

Then she completed her hat-trick and England's victory by firing home a free-kick from just outside the box.

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See also:

12 Mar 01 |  Football
The highs and lows of Britton
07 Mar 01 |  Football
Britton omitted from England squad
10 Mar 01 |  BBC Pundits
England's Euro 2001 challenge
08 Mar 01 |  Football
Powell predicts tough Euro task
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