Hope Powell admitted this morning that she 'did not expect' to be sacked as England women's head coach, despite a miserable Euro 2013 that saw the Lionesses finish bottom of their group after failing to win a game.

In an interview with BBC Breakfast this morning, Powell expressed her surprise at the decision that came through last month. 

England were considered one of the pre-tournament favourites but dramatically under-performed, convincingly losing to both Spain and France whilst needing a last-minute equaliser to draw against Russia, one of the weaker teams in the competition. However Powell, who became England's first full time women's head coach back in 1998, admitted she did not think she would be fired after one bad tournament. 

"We just didn't perform," Powell said. "It was not through lack of effort on the players' part. I think everybody gave 100% as we always did but when it came to the games we just didn't perform and we have to accept that." 

Indeed, Powell's angst is understandable given her track record that had seen her take England to their first World Cup in 12 years in 2007 and their highest Fifa ranking of sixth two years ago. However the former head coach, who became the first ever woman to earn the Uefa Pro Licence in 2003, has decided to accept the decision before taking some time out from the game. 

"I am disappointed, but I have accepted it and have to move on. I need some time to recharge and see what opportunities come up." 

Brent Hills, Powell's assistant coach, has taken charge of the England team whilst a successor is found, with New York Fury coach Paul Riley one of the early front-runners. 

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