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Page last updated at 16:17 GMT, Tuesday, 7 July 2009 17:17 UK

England climb to ninth in world


By Tony Leighton

Hope Powell
Powell's team have two friendlies ahead of the European Championships

The England women's team have climbed to ninth in the world rankings - their highest ever placing.

England have two final warm-up games as they prepare for the 2009 European Championship finals in August.

Hope Powell's team have climbed the Fifa rankings after losing only one of their last 20 competitive matches.

"Our latest ranking shows we've continued improving over the last few years. It's a nice morale boost before the Euro finals," said the coach.

"The run we are on at the moment is very positive, but we have to be careful because we had a great run up to Euro 2005 then finished bottom of our group.

"So we have to go into these last two friendlies aiming for the sort of performances that will set us up for a good tournament in Finland.

"Iceland and Denmark have qualified for Euro 2009 and they'll both give us tough tests - they're ideal opponents in the final stages of our preparations for the finals."

In addition to their fine run in competitive games England are also unbeaten in the seven friendlies they have played since qualifying for Euro 2009.

Ahead of the finals, to be played in Finland, they face Iceland - ranked 16th in the world - at Colchester on 16 July and sixth-ranked Denmark at Swindon six days later.

Powell's 30-strong squad for the two friendlies includes eight players virtually untried at senior international level.

But with her final squad of 22 not due to be announced until 13 August, the coach insisted: "The Euro squad has not been finalised and places are up for grabs.

"We are looking at the future as well as this tournament in particular, and if players do well they'll put themselves in with a chance of making the final squad.

"It happened with Karen Carney and Eniola Aluko at Euro 2005 and I don't discount it happening again this year."

Carney and Aluko are among six of the squad's players, one of them USA-born goalkeeper Karen Bardsley, who are currently with professional American clubs.


England squad:

Brown (Everton), Chamberlain (Chelsea), Telford (Leeds Carnegie), Bardsley (Sky Blue), A. Scott (Boston Breakers), Stoney (Chelsea), White (Arsenal), Yorston (Bristol Academy), Unitt (Everton), Johnson (Everton), Asante (Sky Blue), Susi (Chelsea), Bassett (Arsenal), Hickmott (Birmingham City), J. Scott (Everton), F. Williams (Everton), K. Smith (Boston Breakers), Westwood (Everton), Chapman (Arsenal), Buet (Chelsea), R. Williams (Doncaster Rovers Belles), Davison (Arsenal), Yankey (Arsenal), S. Smith (Leeds Carnegie), Carney (Chicago Red Stars), Sanderson (Chelsea), Aluko (Saint Louis Athletica), Clarke (Leeds Carnegie), Handley (Everton), Dowie (Everton).



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see also
England line up pre-Euro fixtures
08 Jun 09 |  Women
Powell may leave England position
04 Jun 09 |  Women
England Women 3-0 Norway Women
23 Apr 09 |  Women
England women get tough Euro draw
18 Nov 08 |  Women
Draw sees England reach Euro 2009
02 Oct 08 |  Women


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