England's 'Lionesses' show their claws

2015-06-28 14:22
A fan celebrates her team's victory. (Darryl Dyck, AP)

Vancouver - England's "Lionesses" have once again bared their claws by brutally ending the campaign of hosts Canada 2-1 to advance to their first semi-final at the Women's World Cup where they meet champions Japan.

Mark Sampson's revamped squad have now won two knock-out games for the first time in a World Cup, following on from their 2-1 win over former winners Norway in the last 16.

Bounced back

Expectations had been high with women's soccer now fully professional in England after significant investment from the Football Association.

And the team have delivered despite starting their campaign with a 1-0 loss to France in rain and windy conditions in Moncton nearly three weeks ago.

The sixth-ranked side bounced back with four straight wins over Mexico, Colombia, Norway and Canada - all by 2-1 scorelines - and are now the lowest-ranked, and the only team never to have won the title, left in the tournament.

"We still had that confidence after that first defeat," said Sampson, after Saturday's win built on early goals from Jodie Taylor (11) and Lucy Bronze (14) which shocked a capacity 54 027 crowd in BC Place Stadium.

"I think that was our big moment of the tournament...the way the players bounced back from that defeat.

"So many teams would have struggled with that, doubted themselves, this team stayed strong, stayed together and stuck to the plan and now we find ourselves in a World Cup semi-final."

Top teams

"The team know now when we need to dig deep against an excellent Japan team to keep ourselves in this tournament," he added of their rivals who saw off Australia 1-0 for a fifth straight win in Canada.

The winner of Wednesday's semi-final will play either Germany or the United States, both two-time winners and the top teams in the world, in the final in Vancouver on July 5.

Read more on:    england  |  women's world cup  |  canada  |  soccer

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