International ladies

Wednesday 20 February 2002

It's a game England simply has to win to have any chance of qualifying for the 2003 World Cup. Currently third in the group, England take on Portugal this Sunday at Portsmouth FC's Fratton Park, knowing only three points will do if they are to finish second in the group and qualify via the play offs.

Speaking at the Club's training ground, Fulham Ladies' Rachel McArthur and Rachel Unitt looked ahead to the weekend's game.

"We have to win- it's as simple as that," admitted Rachel McArthur, who has retained her
place in the national squad after impressing at last month's winter training camp in La Manga.

"It's every player's dream to play in a World Cup and it's my ambition to be part of what will be a fantastic event in China next year."

The two Rachel's are not the only Fulham players selected in Hope Powell's squad. Katie Chapman and Rachel Yankey are also included, as is Mary Phillip, who has been re-called to the England squad after an absence of some five years.

It's the first time five Whites players have been picked in the England squad, which is testimony to the excellent form of Fulham Ladies this season. The team is yet to lose a game and is on course for a domestic treble.

"Everything is going really well at the moment. Hopefully we can go on and win the FA and League Cups, as well as the League, and I can continue to be in the England squad," said McArthur.

England, on the other hand, is yet to record a victory in their World Cup qualifying group, after losing to Germany and drawing with both Holland and Portugal.

Fulham's left sided defender Rachel Unitt, however, believes England have the ability to get the better of Portugal this time round.

"We had a nightmare last time we played Portugal and made them look a lot better than they are," she said. "I'm sure that if we play to our potential we can get the three points."

The Portugal game is the start of a busy international period for Fulham's England players as the team is taking part in the Algarve Cup in the first week in March, before playing Holland in another World Cup qualifier on March 23.

Sunday's World Cup Qualifier against Portugal is live on Sky Sports. Kick off 5.30pm.