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This Saturday we get our Euro 2013 qualifying group under way with a home match against the Republic of Ireland at Newport.
It seems like we haven't played a competitive match for Wales for a long time - it is over a year in fact since our last one against Sweden. As much as that can be frustrating though, we've had the time to work on things that, as a team, we needed to improve on. As a team I believe we have used the time well and now I can't wait for the qualifying campaign to start.
I don't believe that I have played against Ireland in the past, although I could be mistaken. Ireland are a good side though and will definitely have a say in the group. I do feel that a good result on Saturday is of great importance - it's important we put in a good performance and a get a result, it will make the following games a lot easier to go into.
A few of the Ireland girls play in the WSL and obviously Jayne Ludlow will have some inside information from playing with some of them at Arsenal, but I don't think it will bear too much on the game or how we approach it. We will mostly focus on ourselves and try to bring out the performance we know we can produce.
I believe we will be going into the game full of confidence, not just from beating Northern Ireland 2-0 last month but from the twelve months we have had. We had a great Algarve Cup and we had a great result against Luxembourg where we showed the strength and depth in our squad.
We learnt a lot and grew as a team from our experience in the tournament we played in Switzerland and we put in a good performance against Northern Ireland. The twelve months have been great and very beneficial for us, now our preparation has been done so we are ready for the game on Saturday.
Looking at the group as a whole, in which we also have to play France, Scotland and Israel, it is a tough one. Ideally we probably would have liked a slightly less competitive one, however all international games are very tough - there is no easy game. I think when we found out the group, we accepted it was a difficult one but changed our mentality to make the outcome a more beneficial one for us.
We just know now that for every game we have to perform whereas if we don't, we aren't going to get the result we want. That will only make sure we perform and give our best for every game, starting from this week.
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