Women's World Cup: Stoney responds to Powell comment

By Alistair MagowanBBC Sport

England defender Casey Stoney has hit back at coach Hope Powell after she accused some players of "cowardice" ahead of the Women's World Cup quarter-final penalty shootout against France.

Powell said she had to ask three times for volunteers to take the spot-kicks.

England eventually lost 4-3 in the shootout after the match ended 1-1.

"I don't think anyone's a coward and that's not the impression I got from Hope when she debriefed us after the game," Stoney told BBC Radio 5 live.

"She said she was very proud and we should hold our heads up high."

Injured striker Kelly Smith and forward Karen Carney were the only non-defenders to take penalties.

They both scored, with 29-year-old Stoney tucking the third penalty away before Claire Rafferty and skipper Faye White missed the last two kicks to send England home.

Rafferty, 21, only came onto the pitch nine minutes before the end of normal time for her World Cup debut.

Powell said on Saturday: "Faye said 'Right, if no-one else wants to do it I will do it'."

The missed kick may have been the 33-year-old's last act in an England shirt.

"Three times I had to ask [for volunteers] before anyone stepped forward," added Powell.

"'Where are you?' I was thinking, and then a young kid 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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