Hope Powell will break the record for most England matches managed

By Tony Leighton Women's football correspondent
Hope Powell
Hope Powell has been in charge of England for 13 years

England coach Hope Powell will set a new record for England games managed when her team face Serbia in Saturday's Euro 2013 qualifier in Belgrade.

Powell's 140th match in charge will take her past the previous record holder, Sir Walter Winterbottom.

He managed the men's team from 1946 until Sir Alf Ramsey took over in 1962.

Powell was appointed in 1998 and has led England to two World Cups, three European Championships and their highest world ranking, sixth.

Saturday's game in Belgrade, the opening fixture of England's five-nation Euro 2013 qualifying group, will be the first time Powell and her players have come together since the penalty shoot-out defeat by France in last summer's World Cup quarter-final.

After their exit Powell showered her team with praise but also criticised players who had shied away from taking spot-kicks at the end of the 1-1 draw in Leverkusen.

But she insisted her remarks relating to the shoot-out were "blown out of all proportion".

Powell said: "Lessons will be learned from the penalty shoot-out. Now it's about moving forward and starting a new campaign."

At the last European Championships, England were runners-up, beaten 6-2 by Germany in the 2009 final in Helsinki.

They are now favourites to reach Sweden 2013 as winners of their qualifying group.

Serbia, ranked 45th in the world, should present no major problems for Powell's team.

But the national coach is urging caution. Powell said: "It's dangerous to look too far ahead.

"You need to deal with what's immediately in front of you and, as this game is the first one to be played in our group, we're going into it a little bit blind.

"We've got some information on Serbia we can work with and will be going out looking to get our campaign off on the right foot."

Powell's squad has been reduced to 20 after captain Faye White pulled out due to a knee injury, while striker Eni Aluko's law exams clash with the match date.

The squad now includes 16 players who were at the World Cup, plus additions such as in-form Birmingham striker Rachel Williams, who has hit 18 goals in 16 Super League and League Cup matches.

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