ON a personal note, it has been a frustrating time for Rachel Brown at the Women’s World Cup in Germany.
Having been England’s established number one since Euro 2005, Brown, who celebrated her 31st birthday on Saturday, has had to settle for a watching brief from the bench, with Karen Bardsley between the sticks.
However, ever the team player, Brown, at her second World Cup, has been delighted to see Hope Powell’s Three Lionesses progress to the quarter-finals for a second successive time, after topping Group B with seven points.
Tomorrow, England meet the Group A runners-up France in Leverkusen in the last eight, hoping to earn a semi-final place on the world stage for the first time in their history, as they look to build on reaching the final at Euro 2009, when they eventually lost 6-2 to World Cup winners Germany.
Germany topped Group A, with England avoiding the home nation by beating Japan 2-0 on Tuesday to leapfrog them to top Group B.
France lie in wait, and while England haven’t got the best of records against France, Brown has happy memories of their last competitive meeting, when she helped secure a place at China 2007 in a do or die World Cup qualifier in 2006 at Stade de la Route de Lorient, that finished 1-1 - enough to see England through.