One of the most anticipated matches in the opening round of the Women’s World Cup starts tonight with England versus France at 18:00.
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Despite facing the third ranked country in the world, Lioness coach Mark Sampson is confident England can beat the French.
England is expected to have all 23 players available, despite several coming off of injuries and a few others to food poisoning. Sampson elected not to have practice yesterday in order to get the players back to health. He is confident his players are ready.
“The positive thing was that we had all 23 take part in a full training session on Sunday,” the head coach said in a press conference. “I’m confident we are in a great place to pick from that 23.”
The French knocked out the Lionesses in the last Women’s World Cup in the quarterfinals in penalties, leaving a sour taste in the mouths of the English women for the last four years. Although England hasn’t beaten France since 1974, this match could prove to be something special.
“It’s going to be a huge challenge for us, but we’ll do what we always do: we’ll focus on ourselves, and make sure we pick a team that can deal with France and give them as many problems as possible,” Sampson said.
France will be England’s most difficult game of the group, with Columbia (28) and Mexico (25) rounding out Group F.
France beat Germany in October 2-0, while England lost to Germany 3-0 in November. The English team is different now from then though, with a bit more stability it its team
France will prove to be a very tough opponent, with top players such as Marie-Laure Delie, Gaetane Thiney, and Louisa Necib. With a mix of young and old, England will sure have a true test of skill.
“People will mention that might be a problem for us, but one thing I’m certain of is that it’ll definitely be a problem for our opponents,” Sampson declared.