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Last Updated: Friday, 27 July 2007, 19:01 GMT 20:01 UK
Powell leaving nothing to chance
By Tony Leighton

Hope Powell
Powell wants England's preparation to be thorough
England coach Hope Powell is leaving nothing to chance in the build-up to September's Women's World Cup finals in China.

After overseeing her team's final training camp ahead of the tournament she is set to criss-cross the Atlantic in order to watch two of England's three group opponents.

She is visiting California this weekend to watch America face Japan, against whom England will kick off their campaign in Shanghai on September 11.

Then next Thursday she will be in Gera to see World champions Germany, who England meet in Shanghai on September 14, entertain the Czech Republic.

The following week Powell is set to name her 21-player squad for the finals, which will see England taking part for the first time in 12 years.

And to complete preparations the squad will spend the last fortnight before the finals undertaking an acclimatisation programme in Macau.

Powell said: "We've been as thorough as we possibly could be in preparing for this tournament, and that process will go on right up to kicking off in our first match.

"The players have been working their socks off in training since the end of the season, and come the finals we'll be the fittest ever England women's team.

"We'll need to be because the conditions in China will be alien to us, although the time we spend in Macau will hopefully stand us in good stead.

"We can't harp on about the conditions though, we'll simply have to cope with them as well as some tough opponents.

World rankings in any case will go out of the window once we get into the tournament

England coach Hope Powell

"From what I've seen of Japan they're as fit as any team I've ever seen and technically good too, so it will be very interesting to watch them play against America.

"Seeing Germany again will also be useful, though we already know a lot about them having played them quite often in recent years.

"We don't know as much about our third group opponents Argentina, but we've had them watched and also have quite a bit of video footage.

"They're well below us in the world rankings, but they've recently beaten top teams like Brazil and China so there's no way we will underestimate them.

"World rankings in any case will go out of the window once we get into the tournament, which I think will be a lot closer in terms of team strengths than previous World Cups."

England are currently ranked 12th in the world, 10 places below Germany and two behind Japan but 17 ahead of Argentina.



SEE ALSO
Women's World Cup schedule
21 Jun 07 |  Women


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