Marley eyes momentum

Mo Marley wants England to kick on in the FIFA Women’s U20 World Cup following their opening-day point against South Korea.

Her side face Mexico in their second Group C game in Moncton on Saturday.

And although the head coach is expecting a more physical test against the North Americans, she believes the Young Lions can continue to improve after their accomplished display against the counter-attacking of the Asian champions.

England v Mexico

FIFA Women’s U20 World Cup
Group C
6pm BST, Saturday 9 August 2014
Moncton Stadium, Canada
Live on Eurosport

Marley said: “We are happy with the girls’ performance against South Korea.

“We have spoken about building momentum and we feel we have progressed over the last 10 days.

“Now it’s about building on the positives and tidying up a few things. That’s our main focus and we want to improve on a day-to-day basis, as we have been doing.”

Mexico drew 1-1 with Nigeria in their opening group game and they have appeared in every U20 World Cup bar 2004.

England and Mexico were drawn together in this competition four years ago, with ‘El Tri’ edging the game by a single goal, and Marley is well aware of the danger they will pose.

She added: “It will be very different to the game we played against South Korea.

“Mexico are a very technical team. A lot of their players are comfortable using both feet which is unusual in young players.

“They have a lot of pace, they are physically strong and they have a lot of experience, too.

“They have qualified for most major competitions in recent years so they have significant experience of the big stage.”

The top two nations in each of the four groups will qualify for quarter finals – a stage England have never surpassed in three previous attempts.

But Marley can see the bigger picture and realises there is more to this tournament than trying to win silverware.

She explained: “Ultimately, it’s about making them better players in the future.

“It’s not just about the game, it’s about trying to improve the individual for the long-term as well.

“Last year we set the benchmark for the players – and that was getting to Canada 2014 and then Canada 2015 [for the senior World Cup].

“So it’s not just about the here and the now. It’s about their transition into the senior team. For me as a coach it’s not just about the games we win here, it’s more about the player transition into the seniors.

“There is no point in us winning games and doing well here if none of these players progress into the senior squad.”