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Jul 10, 2011

Powell slams England's pen 'cowardice'

England women's coach Hope Powell accused her team of "cowardice'' after she struggled to find volunteers for the World Cup quarter-final penalty shoot-out against France.

• USA stun Brazil, Sweden progress
• France through, Japan shock holders
• North Korea duo banned

Powell's side were beaten in the shoot-out and the defeat could mark her last game in charge as she hinted at taking on a new role within the Football Association.

Claire Rafferty, a 22-year-old full-back who had come on after 80 minutes to make her World Cup debut, and captain Faye White missed the fourth and fifth penalties respectively to seal England's exit and Powell was furious at the overall lack of courage shown by her players.

She told The Guardian: "Three times I had to ask before anyone stepped forward. 'Where are you?' I was thinking, and then a young kid (Rafferty) is the first to put her hand up.

"And Kelly Smith was dying on her feet but she stepped up and took one. You've got to want to take a penalty, but other players should have come forward and they didn't. That's weak, it's cowardice.''

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