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Hope Powell congratulated her players after they battled to a 0-0 draw against Holland in their third match of the UEFA Euro 2013 qualifiers.
England came into the game following a comfortable 4-0 win over Slovenia last month, but they had dropped two points away to Serbia just four days earlier. Holland had defeated the Serbs and Croatia to climb to the Group Six summit and Hope's charges knew a victory in Zwolle would allow them to overtake.
The Dutch were arguably the better side overall and they tested England's back line on a number of occasions. But, marshalled by their captain Casey Stoney, the visitors stood firm and repelled every attack, with goalkeeper Karen Bardsley and centre back Sophie Bradley particularly impressing.
England might even have walked away with all three points had Fara Williams struck a 50th minute penalty a bit firmer, though Hope insists she is satisfied with the outcome. Holland remain top of the group, two points clear of England who still have to entertain Roger Reijners' side in June next year.
"It was a very, very well fought contest," said Hope. "Credit to both teams, we both worked hard and we are happy with a point away from home. We came here to try and win the game and we go away happy to have not lost the game.
"Defensively we had to work hard and I think we did that, certainly in the first half. I thought we were a lot more attack minded in the second half. Overall I thought it was an even contest, well fought and very competitive.
"It's still all to play for. It was important that we didn't lose and the group is very open. It makes it exciting."
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