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Women's football: England kick-off World Cup campaign at Dean Court
ENGLAND’S women kick-off their new campaign at Dean Court tomorrow when they open their World Cup 2015 qualifying campaign against Belarus (1pm).
The nation’s ladies will be looking to take their first steps on the road to redemption after their early exit from the European Championships resulted in the sacking of long-standing coach Hope Powell in August.
Under-23 boss Brent Hills, Powell’s assistant since 2002, is in charge for the next two games and will be looking for a strong start to England’s Group Six fixtures having made no secret of his desire to take the job on a full-time basis.
England have not lost a qualifying game for almost 11 years and have recalled in-form striker Natasha Dowie, who has scored 19 goals in 20 games for Liverpool Ladies this season. Hills also hands a first-call-up to 20 year-old Arsenal striker Danielle Carter.
Fara Williams, who bagged a hat-trick in the 6-1 victory when the sides last met in Minsk in 2009 is also in the squad.
In the build up to the match, several members of the squad have taken part in community events to promote the fixture.
Full-back Steph Houghton (pictured) and injured striker Kelly Smith joined Cherries stalwart Steve Fletcher in coaching pupils from Mudeford School at Dean Court last week, while Rachel Yankey also visited St James’ Primary School.
Chair of the FA’s women’s committee and Dorset FA chief executive Sue Hough told the Daily Echo: “I think it’s really exciting to bring the women’s game to the south coast in an area that England haven’t played in before.
“Hopefully this will give women and girls the opportunity to see their role models in action.
“After a disappointing campaign at the Euro’s in Sweden, it’s a chance for the players to start afresh and put that tournament behind them.”
Admission for the match is just £5 for adults and £2.50 for concessions. A family ticket (two adults, two children) is available for £10.
England: (from) Bardsley, Brown-Finnis, Chamberlain, Bonner, Bradley, Bronze, Houghton, Scott, Stoney, Asante, Moore, Nobbs, Scott, Williams, Aluko, Carney, Clarke, Yankey, Dowie, Duggan, White, Carter.
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