Women's World Cup Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, July 1, 2011 (All times Eastern)

England (0-0-1) vs. New Zealand (0-1-0), 12:15 p.m.

Dresden, Germany (Sports Network) - Prior to the start of the Women's World Cup, England was viewed as one of the favorites in an open Group B. And with its opening match coming against Mexico, you had to bet that coach Hope Powell was expecting to take three points.

However, following a surprising 1-1 draw with Mexico, Powell didn't seem quite sure how she felt about the result.

"I'm pleased we didn't lose the game, disappointed we didn't win it," she said. "If you feel you had opportunities to win the game then naturally you're disappointed. The game was not easy going. It is a start but it would be great to continue from today."

With that in mind England will try to clear some things up on Friday when the team faces New Zealand, with the English needing three points to keep pace at the top.

Despite the disappointing result against Mexico, England can still finish on top of the group with wins in its next two matches, against the Kiwis and then Japan.

But for that to happen the team will need some better play in attack, particularly from Eniola Aluko and Kelly Smith.

Aluko missed a number of decent chances in the opening match, while Smith, who is regarded as one of the world's top players, was surprisingly quieted by a tough Mexican defense.

New Zealand doesn't figure to present as tough a challenge to break down, but that is also what Japan thought before winning a close opening match.

The Kiwis were on even terms until conceding a goal 22 minutes from time, and they should only gain confidence from that result, which most observers thought would be far worse.

"We tried to come out of it with at least a point, but Japan don't give up that easily," said New Zealand coach John Herdman. "Still, I'm proud of my players."

07/01 00:44:04 ET

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