Duggan explains 'great belief' ahead of Group F decider

Tuesday 16 Jun 2015
Toni Duggan has scored 14 goals in 28 England appearances

England Women are confident they can reach the last 16 of the World Cup, said striker Toni Duggan.

Mark Sampson’s side recovered from a narrow loss to France to beat Mexico 2-1 on Saturday and leave themselves second in Group F.

Their final group match is against Colombia on Wednesday and a win would guarantee progress to the knockout stages, while a draw might also be enough depending on the result in the other group game.

England v Colombia

FIFA Women's World Cup 2015
Group F
9pm BST, Wednesday 17 June
Olympic Stadium, Montreal
Live on BBC Three

Duggan made her first World Cup start last time out and she believes her side are ready to produce a big performance in Montreal’s Olympic Stadium.

The 23-year-old said: "We’re full of confidence and the buzz around the place is good.

"It’s always difficult when you lose the first game in a tournament. There are a lot of examples out there of teams from different sports who have lost their opening game and gone on to do well in a tournament.

"So we take belief from that. There’s definitely a great belief within this squad anyway.

"We’ve got the ability and we’ve got the belief. Now it’s about merging the two together and hopefully we can come out on top.

"Colombia obviously came into the tournament full of confidence and are unbeaten so far. They have got some great players so we know we’ll have to bring our best game on Wednesday."

The Manchester City forward came off the bench in the 1-0 defeat by France and was named in the starting 11 for the Mexico match.

Toni Duggan was voted the Vauxhall England Women

Duggan was voted England Women's Player of the Year for 2014

This is her first experience of a senior World Cup, but she represented her country and two U20s World Cups, in 2008 and 2010 – and she cites those youth tournaments as being vital in her development.

Duggan added: "I was buzzing to get the minutes under my belt against France, and to start the next game was fantastic.

"Our goal in this tournament is to do as well as we possibly can and I wanted to help the team in any way I could.

"I don’t think I’d have been as prepared for this tournament had it not been for those two U20s World Cups.

"I kind of knew what to expect. And I know what to expect in a pressure situation like Wednesday will be. I’ve been in a similar situation before. In the 2008 World Cup we needed to get at least a point against New Zealand in the last group game, which we managed to do.

"Those two World Cups played a massive part in preparing me for Canada and understanding the pressures and the environment."

Duggan was one of the players name-checked by Sampson in his post-Mexico press conference.

Toni Duggan in action against China in Manchester

Duggan made her England debut against Croatia in September 2012

The head coach was delighted with the impact his forward players had on the game, including goalscorers Fran Kirby and Karen Carney.

And Duggan believes the quality of players on the bench keeps everyone on their toes.

She said: "The Mexico game was a chance for the strikers to step up and show their ability.

"Kaz [Carney] coming on made a big difference when she came on, and obviously little Fran Kirby popped up with a goal as well.

"We’ve got a lot of forwards on the bench, itching to get on and that’s the beauty of this team.

"We know any one of the forwards is good enough to start any game and we’re all fighting for a place, but it’s a healthy competition – and that can only be a good thing for England.

"We’ve got great ability throughout the squad and I’m sure it’s difficult for Mark to pick his team.

"But we’ll all be ready if and when the call comes."

England’s match against Colombia kicks-off at 9pm BST and will be live on BBC Three.

By Glenn Lavery in Montreal, Canada