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We can go one better this time...
 Women's Football News 15 Feb 2008
 
We can go one better this time... - 15 Feb 2008 - Women's Football NewsWales take on Belgium and Holland in a double header next week and we are capable of avenging our defeats by both countries in the away games, writes Welsh international midfielder Jessica Fishlock.
 
Out of the two matches, the Belgium game could well turn out to be toughest. They are a very physical side but they kept the ball well when we played then and were very fast. We were a bit off the pace on that day but it was still a tight game.
 
On paper, everyone expects it to be a winnable game for us but the games are always a lot different. Hopefully we can turn it over this time, we have just got to keep our concentration and not allow them anything.
 
When we played Holland back in August, we played really well and were very unlucky to lose 2-1 on the day. We tried a new formation and unfortunately their second goal was a keeper error, and that proved to be the difference as we had more than matched them, and their manager (Vera Pauw) conceded that we deserved something out of the game.
 
We can go one better this time and are a lot more confident than when we faced them before. Holland are a good side but, if we play them well, their heads can go down. If you let them play they can hurt you. We have to be aware of their striker Manon Melis who is fast and skilful, so if we can cut off the supply to her, hopefully we can stop most of their attacks.
 
We prepared for the two games with a friendly against Portugal at the end of last month and came away with a 1-1 draw. Towards the end, it was a fair result but we had dominated the first half and scored a good goal from a well worked set piece. The weather was really windy and made it hard to get the ball out from the back so Portugal had the better of the second half, although we had a great chance to seal the game late on.
 
Lauren Townsend made her debut as a second half substitute and didn't look fazed at all, which augurs well for the future. Carla Parfitt, another young player, played really well. Emma Jones had a great game and was a rock at the back for us, she was really dominant especially in the second half when we played against the wind. Jo Edwards made her first start up front and scored our goal with a header, and she was really lively.
 
The Portugal game was very special as it marked Kath Morgan's 50th appearance for her country, the first Welsh woman footballer to do so. It is really good to see someone who has stuck with the team gain recognition - Kath was around during the bad times and it is nice that she is still there now the better times are here. It is really good for the squad to have her around as she helps the younger players and is a great servant to Wales. I hope many more players go on to emulate her - it is definitely an ambition of mine to get that far and hopefully win even more!
 
This is the first time we have played at the 'A' level of international football and it is almost a year since we started against Germany. We have definitely improved during that time, even against Germany when we did so well until letting in three late goals, and we have gone through the tournament not just sitting back and defending, but have played football and tried to express ourselves against players who are experienced at this level.
 
We have got such a young squad at the moment, you wouldn't expect them to play as well as they have do so far. Although we have lost every match in the group, we could have got points out of each game since the one with Germany and that could go down to a lack of experience.
 
Youngsters are now coming in to what is a big squad and hopefully we can keep them progressing. We've just got to keep working together as a squad and we can keep getting better over the next two years.

 
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