Stoney: Once in a lifetime
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Great Britain captain Casey Stoney reflected on Team GB’s 1-0 win over Brazil by describing it as ‘one of the proudest moments of my life.’

The 30-year-old defender led her team out at Wembley Stadium for the first ever women’s international in the famous arena in front of a crowd of 70,584 – a record for a female fixture in the United Kingdom.

It has been quite a journey for the Essex-born player, who has gone from being an unused squad member for England at the UEFA Women’s EURO in 2005 to skipper of the host nation at an Olympic Tournament and speaking to after the game, she could not hide her delight.

"I haven’t stopped smiling since we walked out," she admitted. "I’ve got to say it was one of the single proudest moments of my life. I look back to 2005 when I didn’t play at all, now I’m leading out our nation in a home Olympics in front of 70,000 people. The fans today were something else, I think they urged us to victory.

"I don’t think any of us expected this experience to be like it is, the fact that 70,000 people were watching a women’s game and getting behind us all the way. I don’t think I’ll ever experience anything like this again in my life time, I don’t think any of us will, but we made the most of it tonight.

“I don’t think Brazil could have any complaints with the final score. They’re a great side, but we restricted them to a handful of chances, but I think we created the better ones. We attacked with real pace and determination and I think what we got what we deserved.”

We thought: ‘OK. This is our game, this is our pitch. This is our time. We’ll go and play.’ Obviously, the start couldn’t have been any better.
Casey Stoney, Great Britain captain.

One could have forgiven Team GB for freezing on one of the biggest stages of them all, but right from the first whistle they appeared to be at ease in the palatial surroundings. Stoney revealed that Hope Powell was instrumental in putting the team at ease, reminding them that the pressure was off.

“She said: ‘You’ve already qualified. These 70,000 people are here to watch you. They’re here to watch you do what you love doing.’ So we thought: ‘OK. This is our game, this is our pitch. This is our time. We’ll go and play.’ Obviously, the start couldn’t have been any better."

Next up for Great Britain is a clash against Canada at the City of Coventry Stadium on Friday evening. The London 2012 website has already been inundated for tickets for the game as locals seek to get behind the team. Stoney is eager to keep up that momentum for the quarter-finals and beyond.

"We’ve got to keep winning," she said. "We’ve got to focus again tomorrow, we’ve got a big game on Friday against Canada, there’s no point topping the group if you’re going to underperform. We’ve some great players in this squad and hopefully that will keep the passion of the fans and the nation behind us."