Thursday, July 26

By Steph Houghton

Stephanie Houghton

The last 24 hours have been a bit of a whirlwind, I don't think it has really sunk in to be honest! Obviously I didn't get much sleep last night and to be honest I think the game took its toll on everybody. We're all really delighted that we got the win.

I think we were a bit nervous in the first 15-20 minutes. Being the first game of the Olympics was obviously going to play its part and the girls wanted to put on a performance. But I think we settled towards the end of the first half and began to create chances.

We were confident enough going into the second half knowing that we could score a goal. Thankfully we did that.

I think we were always confident in our own ability, we just needed to make sure that we put a few passes together. You also have to remember that the conditions were very hot and it took a lot out of us during the 90 minutes. We dug deep and defended really well as a team. The substitutes came on and had an impact, which helped us massively. I think we are all just relieved that we got the first game out of the way and made a bit of history.

With my goal, I just thought I had to make sure I got it on target! I obviously asked Kelly Smith if I could have it really as she had missed a previous one. Thankfully she said yes! I just saw the goalkeeper move to the left a little bit so I tried to put it the other side - and it worked.

I think if you look at the pictures, Kelly's reaction says it all! Everybody was so pleased it went in I think it was more relief than anything. We did deserve a goal because it was coming - it was just whether we were going to get it off a set-piece or in open play. We still can't believe what happened playing in front of such a big crowd in a stadium like the Millennium.

I have only really started taking free-kicks this year. I used to take them for Sunderland and a few for Leeds but obviously at Arsenal we have Rachel Yankey and Kim Little, who you can't really grumble about being behind. But over the last few England games I've been on them and I think I've hit the target on most occasions. It was something we'd been practicing in training anyway...

I know it was my first start in a major competition but I didn't really think of it like that because I have been playing for England in European qualifiers. But it is a great achievement. It has been a long time coming because I have had a little bit of bad luck along the way. It is a day that I will never forget.

You can follow me on Twitter as the team prepare for our next test against Cameroon on Saturday.


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26 Jul 2012