Lianne Sanderson: 'The stage is set for us to shine'

Friday 05 Jun 2015
Lianne Sanderson scored the winner in the Cyprus Cup final in March

Lianne Sanderson says the England Women’s team are ready to produce the goods on the world’s biggest stage.

Mark Sampson’s squad are in Toronto preparing for their World Cup opener against France in Moncton on Tuesday 9 June.

They made it to the tournament courtesy of a flawless qualifying campaign, the key victory coming against Wales last August.

France v England

FIFA Women's World Cup 2015
6pm BST, Tuesday 9 June
Moncton Stadium, Moncton, Canada
Live on BBC

They suffered back-to-back friendly defeats by Germany and USA, the top two teams in the world, but bounced back to win the Cyprus Cup in March.

And Sanderson – who scored the winner against Canada in the Cyprus Cup final – believes England’s development under Sampson has left them brimming with confidence.

She said: "We have grown a lot in the last 18 months.

"We’ve had a couple of losses along the way which we are disappointed about but we are a far better team now than we were against Germany in November.

"Everybody is buzzing to be here. Every time we have trained we have left nothing on the pitch.

"We’ve got some great, world class players and I really believe the stage is set for us to shine."

Such is England players’ confidence, Sanderson has brushed off her country’s record against their first Group F opponents.

The Lionesses haven’t beaten France since 1974 – but the Arsenal striker reckons records are there to be broken.

Sanderson added: "We know how good France are, but I’m sure they know how good we are too.

"It’s important that we remember what we can bring. We are disappointed to have lost to Canada, but we have beaten Canada a few times over the last few years so we know we can beat the top teams.

"We haven’t got a great record against France but that doesn’t concern us because we’ll be ready next week."

She continued: "It’s a big game and we want to start the tournament on the front foot. We haven’t got time to get into it. We’ve got to be ready from minute one.

"But that’s not something that I’m concerned about. We have been preparing for this first match for a long time."

Sanderson was a key player in qualifying, netting twice in six qualifiers, including the 4-0 win in Cardiff.

Sampson recalled her to the England set-up in January 2014 following a four-year international hiatus.

Lianne Sanderson opened the scoring for England

Sanderson has scored 15 goals in 47 internationals

She was a member of the Three Lions squad at the 2007 World Cup in China but missed out four years later.

The 27-year-old then enjoyed spells in America, Spain and Cyprus before returning to the Gunners at the start of this season.

And Sanderson says her time abroad has made her the player and the person she is today.

She added: "The experience of playing and living in different countries has really allowed me to grow a lot.

"I’m a lot better equipped for this World Cup than I was in 2007.

"I think that’s down to all the different experiences that I have had, for example playing full-time in America and living on my own in completely different country for the first time.

"It gave me a different mindset. It allowed me to take a look at myself and what I wanted to do.

"I didn’t always feel that I settled as well in Cyprus or Barcelona, even though I loved my time there, but things like that help you mature as a person and develop as a player."

England’s other two Group F opponents are Mexico and Colombia.

By Glenn Lavery In Toronto, Canada