Casey Stoney column: Andy Murray's win will inspire England

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England stars dish dirt on team-mates

England and Lincoln Ladies captain Casey Stoney will be writing regular columns for the BBC Sport website during the 2013 European Championship.

Here she talks about how England learned lessons from defeat, how the team is gearing up for their opener against Spain and how she has been inspired by Andy Murray's Wimbledon success.

If I took one thing from Andy Murray's incredible Wimbledon victory it is that nothing is impossible and everything is achievable.

Like the millions back in the UK, the England's women's football team all watched the Wimbledon final on TV here in Sweden and we came away inspired.

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England's Euro 2013 group profile

It was hard not to. We kick our European Championship campaign off on Friday against Spain in Linkoping and I think we can all draw on Andy's amazing achievement. Any sportsperson can.

I was quite emotional watching him win it and you can only imagine what it meant to him, dreaming of winning Wimbledon since he was a little boy. I can't believe how much pressure he was under walking out there with no team-mates to draw on.

Afterwards I just wanted to get going and get dreaming. You only have to think of the Olympics last year where you see someone else do well and you want to do well yourself. He has made the country very proud.

I was actually a ball girl at Wimbledon in 1997, including the men's final between Pete Sampras and Cedric Pioline, at a time when all of Britain's hopes rested on Tim Henman.

He had all that pressure on his shoulders and people were saying, 'there is never going to be another British winner in my lifetime'. Now there is, so sometimes it's just about being patient.

And as we have seen over the last year, with Sir Bradley Wiggins winning the Tour de France, the London Olympics, Justin Rose's win at the US Open, the British and Irish Lions victory and now Murray's triumph, everything is possible.

English football has been exempt from that list so far, and we would love to come home with the European Championship trophy but obviously it is a team game and there are a lot of factors that contribute to victory. We will be doing everything we can to go one better than our runners-up spot four years ago, that's for sure.

Our preparations have been good since we arrived in Sweden, which might sound strange given that we lost 4-1 to the hosts last week in a friendly.

You never want to lose going into a tournament but I'm a big believer that you learn far more in defeat than you do in victory so it could be a blessing in disguise.

Casey Stoney (left)
Casey Stoney acts as a ball girl during one of Tim Henman's matches at Wimbledon in 1997

We have had lots of discussions since the game and we have analysed it like we always do by sitting down and watching the game together, learning the lessons and then putting them into practice on the training field.

The manager, Hope Powell, and the coaching staff will pick out clips where we could have done better and clips where we have done well. Then the players will have a separate discussion in units - defence, midfield and attack - where we will ask what we want from each other.

We are always really honest in those chats and any players that are singled out will deal with it in a positive way. I know that for 45 minutes against Sweden I wanted to improve on my distribution and that was picked out. But at this level, players are their own biggest critics anyway so I knew it was coming.

The Sweden game was my first competitive action for a while after injuring my hamstring so it was great to play in the first half and there was no reaction. In fact, I wanted to continue after half-time but the medics know what they are doing, getting me up to full fitness.

Our focus now is all on the Spanish game. Like their male counterparts, they play possession football and have some tricky forwards, with their wide players also being quite direct. Veronica Boquete is one of those.

We helped end the chances of Spain reaching the last Euros and the 2011 World Cup as we finished above them in qualifying for both tournaments, so they will have a point to prove.

But at the same time, we are more than capable of handling it, and sometimes you have to think about what you can do rather than worrying about the opposition too much.

Now we are here, we've watched Murray win Wimbledon and we are all set, we just want the tournament to start.

Playing in a major championship is the pinnacle for an international footballer and like Murray we hope we can do our country proud.

Casey Stoney was talking to BBC Sport's Alistair Magowan.

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