Lionesses striker yet to score a World Cup goal in seven attempts but hopes to change that against Mexico
ENI ALUKO hopes to banish her demons from four years ago by helping England beat Mexico on Saturday, vowing yesterday to do all it takes to get the win.
Aluko received abuse via social media after a 1-1 draw against Mexico in the group stages in 2011, when she wasted a number of glorious chances.
After Tuesday’s 1-0 defeat to France, the Lionesses need a win to keep their tournament alive.
Aluko, who has 32 goals in 92 games for her country, is yet to find the target at World Cup in seven attempts and has vowed to turn that around by scoring the goal to kick-start England’s World Cup.
“At my first World Cup, I didn’t play that many minutes. Then in my second, my performances could have been better. In the game against Mexico I could have done much better and finished the chances I had but that’s only motivation for me,” Aluko said.
“I’ve got another opportunity. It’s exciting.
“I think I definitely owe Mexico one. But I’m not thinking too much about the past.”
The 28-year-old is one of the players that could be dropped by Mark Sampson, who has told his players that this will not be an easy match.
Despite being 25th in the Fifa rankings, Mexico put in a great performance at the Cyprus Cup back in March.
“Mexico are going to pose us a different kind of challenge,” he said. “They finished third at the Cyprus Cup — only us and Canada finished above them and they beat Italy.”
Aluko qualified as a lawyer last year but has put that career on hold, instead targeting a fourth World Cup. A lot has changed over the eight years the Chelsea forward spent studying for her degree.
The women’s game is now a viable career option for players, something Aluko is taking advantage of as she sets her goals for the future.
“I qualified last year and it’s purely football for me now,” Aluko said.
“The timing of my qualification was really good in the sense I knew it was a World Cup year ahead and I knew I could put everything into football. And I probably will now for the next three or four years. I’ve earned that.
“After eight years of toiling in law it’s a good opportunity for me now to become a professional footballer and do what I’ve always wanted to do.
“Of course I could play at a fourth World Cup, all being well. There’s no reason why I shouldn’t aim for that.
“Football wasn’t a career for women when I started out. But we can now say we’re professional footballers and it’s a real privilege to be able to say that, so I’m not going to pass up that opportunity.”
Defeat on Saturday would leave England’s hopes of qualifying all but over.
The four best third placed teams will qualify but it would be risky to leave things so uncertain heading into the final match against Colombia.