Crunch time

Yank of England - Rachel at EURO 2013

England are taking part in this summer’s Uefa Women’s European Championship in Sweden.

Arsenal Ladies winger Rachel Yankey is part of Hope Powell’s squad and will be keeping fans up to date with a regular diary for Arsenal.com over the course of the tournament.

In her third entry, Rachel discusses losing to Spain, the crunch clash against Russia and why Jayne Ludlow will be a big loss to Arsenal Ladies.

Hi from Linkoping!

I’m writing this from my room on Sunday, ahead of our massive game against Russia on Monday afternoon.

We were so disappointed with the way we lost against Spain on Friday night. It took real character for us to equalise so late on, so to lose from that position was horrible. But we played good football and will take the positives from that performance into the Russia game.

"There’s real spirit in this squad and that is important, especially when you’ve had a defeat and you have to bounce back"

Rachel Yankey

We’ve watched the game back and identified the things we did well. We know how we’re going to approach the game and we have to make sure that we win - it’s that simple.

There’s real spirit in this squad and that is important, especially when you’ve had a defeat and you have to bounce back. You need different characters, you can’t just have the same people - you need a mixture and we have that. The players know when to be serious and know when to have a joke.

I’ve had more a chance to explore Linkoping since my last entry. There’s a fanzone with a big screen in the town centre and we watched the opening game of the tournament there. It’s quite cool because we bump into the fans so we get the chance to mix with them and feel what they are feeling.

We’ve been walking around in our training kit and we stick out like a sore thumb. There are a lot of English fans out there, mostly friends and family of the squad. It’s good for the team to have that other environment to be around to help us chill out.

I was gutted to find out that Jayne Ludlow has retired from football. She sent me a text before she announced it and I was devastated. She’s a massive character and personality and has been around the Club for so many years. The kids at the Club really look up to her when she coaches them so I’m sure she can still play a big role in the future.

Alex Scott is in line to win her 100th cap against Russia and I’m really proud of her. She’s a fantastic right back and fingers crossed we can make the day even more special by getting the win because she’s been a fantastic footballer for club and country.

That’s all for now but I’ll be back soon - hopefully with three points!

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