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Aluko eyes first World Cup goal to take England into quarter finals

By Tony Leighton

Published 22/06/2015

In control: Eniola Aluko (right) in action against France
In control: Eniola Aluko (right) in action against France

Eniola Aluko was the leading scorer in England's World Cup qualifiers, the Chelsea striker hitting 13 goals as Mark Sampson's team won their group with a 100 per cent record to reach Canada.

As she prepares to face Norway in this evening's round-of-16 tie in Ottawa, after drawing blanks in her first two outings of the tournament to date, she is still waiting to score at a World Cup in what is her third appearance at the finals following China 2007 and Germany 2011.

"It's frustrating, but you just have to have the opportunities to score," said the 28-year-old.

"People forget that earlier in my career I was played out of position - I've played wide on the right, wide on the left, so I got fewer goalscoring chances.

"In the France game here I was asked to play a lone role up front and I don't think many forwards, if they'd stayed in that role throughout the 90 minutes, would have had many scoring opportunities.

"I'd love to score in every game, but you've got to look at things tactically.

"Sometimes you've got to do things for the team, but I was unlucky with a shot that hit the bar in the game against Mexico and then I didn't play in the last group match against Colombia.

"So all I can do when I'm on the pitch is try to get in the right positions and hopefully get chances to put the ball in the net."

Aluko has been getting moral support from her brother Sone, the Hull City striker, who's following her progress back home.

"I talk to him a lot before games and he gives me lots of advice," said Aluko.

"He's very proud of how I played against France, and if we go a bit further in the competition I hope he'll come out here and see me."

As well as advice from her sibling, Aluko is taking encouragement from the goal she scored when England last met Norway, a 1-1 friendly draw in what was head coach Sampson's first match in charge following his appointment in December 2013.

She was thus the first scorer in Sampson's tenure and, having prospered under his leadership, is now hoping to break her World Cup duck.

"I know that last match against Norway doesn't mean anything now," she said.

"As a forward it always helps psychologically if you've been successful and scored against a team. And it would be brilliant to score against them again, but we have to get a win against them this time, and that's going to be difficult. Norway are strong, physical, hard to break down.

"They got a great result (1-1) against Germany in their group and were actually unlucky not to top the group. We have to believe we can beat them though, and I'm confident we can do that."

Belfast Telegraph

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