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 is keeping fans up to date with a regular diary for Arsenal.com over the course of the tournament.
In her latest entry, Rachel discusses her hamstring injury, a must-win encounter against France and Sweden's initial success.
I’m writing this before our last training session prior to the game against France on Thursday.
I came off against Russia with a hamstring injury but I’ve had a scan and it’s come back all clear so hopefully I’ll be fit and ready to go on Thursday evening.
Russia made things really difficult for us on Monday. They banked up and played on the counter attack and it's so difficult to play against a team that does that effectively.
"Lady luck has looked down on us with other results so we need to make sure that we take advantage of the gift that we've been given"
I actually thought we started the game quite well. The injury seemed to disrupt the team - and I’m not just saying that because it was me that went off! We had to reshape and maybe play the ball a bit quicker.
We had opportunities but the really good thing was that no one gave up. We kept going until the final whistle and got our reward at the end. Now we need to show that same sort of fight and determination, plus a bit more quality, against France.
Hopefully we can take some momentum from scoring so late. Toni took her goal really well. We need to build on that and make sure that we stay confident. We've had a loss and a draw so we know what's coming next… I hope!
Last time we played France, we went 2-0 up. Granted, it was a friendly, but it's positive for us to know that we've done that. And we can do that again. Lady luck has looked down on us with other results so we need to make sure that we take advantage of the gift that we've been given.
For me, the motivation to succeed at international level is massive, as I’m sure it is for all the team. People talk about how many caps I've got for England, but I want to win trophies, not caps.
I've won nothing for England and that's what I want to do. It's an aim for everyone and that will drive us on in this last game. We'll give everything. No matter who starts and who is on the bench, we want to do everything we can to get us in the best position to qualify.
"I think it's a good thing that the hosts make it out of the group stage - it builds interest in the tournament"
The atmosphere around the tournament here has been great! A few of the girls went to the fanzone yesterday and said it was buzzing with all the Swedish fans and everyone else watching on the big screen.
I think it's a good thing that the hosts make it out of the group stage - it builds interest in the tournament. The people in this country and in Linkoping are fantastic. They support Sweden but are getting behind us as well. One of the workers at the hotel seems to have a conversation with me daily and we get a little bit mixed up on what we're talking about!
I'm quite happy to engage in conversations with people and get their opinions. That's what football is all about. We'd love to hear the good stuff but there is going to be bad stuff as well. Football creates debate so I think it's important not to be afraid to get into those conversations.
I’ll be back soon - hopefully ahead of a quarter-final!
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