Enjoying Olympics key for Stoney

24 July 2012 / 08:03

Team GB women's football captain Casey Stoney has urged her side to embrace the pressure of kicking off the Olympic Games on Wednesday.

Hope Powell's side meet New Zealand in their Group E opener at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff as the Games get under way two days before Friday's opening ceremony.

The fixture's timing puts the spotlight firmly on the women's game and is a great opportunity to raise the sport's profile.

With that increased scrutiny comes an extra pressure to perform on home soil, but Lincoln defender Stoney says that is something that she and her team-mates should relish.

"If that's pressure then we have to enjoy it," she said. "Hopefully it will raise the profile of women's football as we are not competing with any other sport, and it's live on the BBC.

"It's a global thing, not just for our nation and hopefully we can put on a good show, but we are just focused on getting the job done."

The women's team played out a goalless draw against Sweden in Middlesbrough on Friday as part of a double-header with their male counterparts, and Stoney and coach Powell revealed that the two squads have bonded well after spending time together in the build-up to the Games.

Stoney said: "We had a quite a lot of interaction, the guys have been really good. We were at the Olympic village together, we played pool together and we had forfeits with the loser having to make tea and stuff like that."

Powell added: "We were in Middlesbrough together, we spent a few days together as one squad and it was a really nice atmosphere.

"I think it was good for the girls and guys to be part of that and it was about the ethos of being one Team GB which I think worked really, really well, and as a result I am sure the guys will want to see how the girls are doing and vice-versa."