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Dream is realised

PUBLISHED: 08:00 26 September 2008 | UPDATED: 21:21 05 July 2010

LOWESTOFT-based teenager Laura Thacker has this week achieved the stuff that every aspiring young footballer dreams of.

The 16-year-old Benjamin Britten High School pupil twice pulled on an England shirt and played 90 minutes as she made a successful debut for her country in the opening two games of the European Women's U17 Championship qualifiers.

LOWESTOFT-based teenager Laura Thacker has this week achieved the stuff that every aspiring young footballer dreams of.

The 16-year-old Benjamin Britten High School pupil twice pulled on an England shirt and played 90 minutes as she made a successful debut for her country in the opening two games of the European Women's U17 Championship qualifiers.

Thacker - one of the youngest members of the touring squad for the championships in Estonia - played both games as the combative number six at the heart of defence for the Young Lionesses.

England made a fine start to their qualifiers as they beat Greece 4-0 in the opening match in Estonia last Friday.

Then on Sunday Lois Fidler's side beat the hosts 3-0.

And next week the England team are due to play a winners-take-all clash against Norway.

Going into the crucial final match on Wednesday both sides were level at the top of the table on six points, with the Norwegians heading the group by a superior goal difference (+ 11 to England's + seven).

Only the winners of the ten first qualifying round groups are assured of progress to the draw on November 19, along with the six runners-up who have the best record against the teams who finish first and third in their sections.

Lois Fidler's England side finished fourth last season and they'll be hoping - like Thacker - that the Young Lionesses progress to May's finals, which again will be hosted by UEFA at the Colovray Stadium in its Swiss home town of Nyon.

Speaking after the first victory, head coach Tracey Kevins said: “There were eight players making their competitive debuts for England (in the first match) so with all the anticipation and nerves that go into making your debut I am pleased that they handled the game so well.

“The main focus is on giving the players as much tournament experience as we can, and for a number of players who had only previously played friendly matches at U15 level this will be a big help to them.”

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