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Friday, 23 March, 2001, 15:16 GMT
England ladies shine
Sue Smith and Danielle Murphy
Sue Smith's performance against Spain was sparkling
BBC Sport Online's women's football correspondent Tony Leighton reflects on a good night for England in their build up to Euro 2001.

Sue Smith's hat-trick was the icing on the cake as England stepped up their preparations for the European Championship finals with a 4-2 win against Spain.

In their penultimate friendly before Euro 2001, Hope Powell's side came from behind to convincingly complete their fourth successive victory.


There is still a lot of stuff to work on and we are not quite there yet, but it's getting better
  Hope Powell

Coach Powell justifiably enthused about a performance which kept the crowd of 3,602 enthralled at Luton Town's Kenilworth Road.

England started badly, with 20-year-old goalkeeper Leanne Hall gifting the visitors an early goal.

But winger Smith set up the equaliser for her namesake, striker Kelly Smith.

Prolific

Then the 21-year-old Tranmere star took over the scoring duties to grab her eighth goal in 11 matches.

Powell said: "I was delighted for Sue. She has scored in practically every one of our qualifying games for the European Championships and on her day she will always get you goals.

"But I was pleased with the whole team. I thought we did really well.

"The players took on board what we had been working on during the course of the week and that was really pleasing.

Hope Powell
Powell is looking forward to Euro 2001

"They showed belief in themselves, the movement was good and the play was excellent at times.

"There is still a lot of stuff to work on and we are not quite there yet, but it's getting better and there were a lot of plusses from the game."

Powell used 16 of her 23-player squad as she took the opportunity to view as many selection options as possible on an evening when preparation for Euro 2001 was more important than the result.

Finalising the squad

Eighteen-year-old Fulham central defender Katie Chapman produced another assured performance alongside captain Mo Marley.

And on the right flank 20-year-old USA based Danielle Murphy had a good night, as did 22-year-old Smith.

Aran Embleton, 19, came off the bench for her debut, while goalkeeper Hall and 18-year-old Everton left-back Rachel Unitt each made only their second international start.

Powell will be able to take 20 players to the Euro finals and she confirmed that she already had pencilled in the majority of the squad.

The final 20 is almost certain to be drawn from the 23 on duty against Spain plus two players who had to pull out through injury.

Sammy Britton, the Everton fullback, who is now available for selection following a drugs-related suspension, is also expected to be included.

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