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Casey Stoney has high hopes for Euros and Lady Imps' future

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: September 29, 2012

Casey Stoney

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Casey Stoney says England have to believe they can win Euro 2013 after helping the Lionesses seal their place at next summer's tournament.

The Lady Imps skipper scored in England's 3-0 victory over Croatia last week, which saw them pip the Netherlands to top spot in their qualifying group.

And after reaching the final of Euro 2009, where they lost to Germany, and reaching the knockout stages of last year's World Cup, Stoney believes the Lionesses can travel to Sweden with confidence.

"We've got to start going to major tournaments believing we can win them," said the former Chelsea defender.

"We went to the final the last time we got there. We've got to go there with the mentality that we need to be in the final again."

Stoney popped up with a rare goal in the win over Croatia at Walsall, a superb right-foot finish from the edge of the box.

"It came from a corner. I stayed up there and got involved in the link-up play," she recalled.

"The ball just landed at my feet and, I've got to be honest, I just put my head down and hit it. It was a bit hit and hope.

"It was a must-win game, but we dominated and won quite easily in the end."

Stoney's week got even better on Sunday when she returned to Lincoln duty against Everton.

The Lady Imps triumphed 2-1 against the Champions League-chasing Merseysiders.

Lincoln have performed well against the Women's Super League's top sides this season, but have slipped up against strugglers Doncaster and Liverpool.

Stoney believes a relaxed mindset helped them overcome high-flying Everton and believes that could be the key to success against the division's lesser sides.

"It was one of the best games we've played all season in terms of the chances we created. We could have won by four of five in the end," added Stoney.

"We had a really relaxed approached and it obviously worked.

"The girls were fantastic and I'm really proud of them. It's something to build on. Maybe we need to approach games with that mentality every week.

"I think we put more pressure on ourselves when we play the lesser teams.

"When we play against the Evertons and Arsenals, the pressure is off and we tend to relax."

With one game left, at Chelsea on October 7, Lincoln can still end a frustrating season with a top-half finish.

"If we win our last game we can still finish fourth. That has got to be our target. After a disappointing season we'd take that," said Stoney.

"We targeted top two and we've got a chance to finish fourth so we're nowhere near where we want to be.

"But we have got a young side. We need to strengthen and we've conceded too many goals, but there's something to build on."

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