by Tony Leighton
As England prepare to face France in their last game of the She Believes Cup in America tonight, striker Toni Duggan is suggesting a simple way to overcome the bad luck that has befallen her team to date – make your own luck!
England matched world champions the USA in their opening game of the four-nation tournament only to go down 1-0 to an unstoppable Crystal Dunn goal.
And after going ahead against European champions Germany through Manchester City star Duggan’s early header, they were undone by a freak own goal and a highly dubious penalty.
“It was great to get a goal against the Germans,” said the 24-year-old striker, “but I didn’t come away happy with it because we didn’t win the match.
“The scorelines in both of our matches haven’t reflected our performances, but to keep progressing as a team we’ve got to become more ruthless.
“You have to make your own luck. There were passages of play against America and Germany where we outplayed the opposition, and it’s important that you make the most of those spells in terms of scoring goals.
“At one-nil up against Germany we could have pressed on and made it two, then we wouldn’t have been so badly affected by the penalty decision – we have to be able to finish teams off.”
After the disappointing results so far, finishing off France – who England have not beaten in 16 meetings since 1974 – would be a highly satisfactory way to close the tournament tonight in Boca Raton, Florida.
Duggan said: “We know how strong France are, but we know their weaknesses too. Okay, we haven’t beaten them for a long time and it’s going to be another tough game – but we believe we can win this match.
“We’ve become a team that’s not used to losing, but now we’ve lost two games back to back and we have to respond – and that’s what we’re going to do.”