High-flying England set sights on the final frontier

Monday 29 Jun 2015
Steph Houghton and Claire Rafferty toast their victory over Canada

After making history against Canada on Saturday, England Women are now in Edmonton preparing for their biggest-ever match – a World Cup semi-final against the reigning champions.

The Lionesses will take on Japan in the last four following a 2-1 win over the host nation on Saturday.

Japan v England

FIFA Women's World Cup
Commonwealth Stadium, Edmonton
12am 2 July 2015
Live on BBC One

It is the furthest England have been in the competition.

Mark Sampson’s side boarded a flight from Vancouver on Sunday afternoon – and FATV caught up with the head coach, match-winner Lucy Bronze and super sub Siobhan Chamberlain.

Sampson said: “We’re all in a fantastic place at the moment.The group has delivered. It has stayed together, it has stayed strong. We have seen example after example of that in this tournament.

“If we can keep that going we’ll certainly be a very difficult opponent for anybody.

“The girls are loving it. It’s awesome for the players, who have worked all their lives without the recognition they deserve for the work they’ve put in and dedication they have given to their careers.

“The team is determined to keep the journey going.”

Bronze, who made her debut against Japan in June 2013, added: “My phone’s going pretty crazy at the minute.

“To be the first England Women’s team to make the semi-final of the World Cup is unbelievable.

“We know we are one win from a final and it’s just crazy to even think that we could potentially win the World Cup.”

Chamberlain, who replaced Karen Bardsley early in the second half against Canada, said: “It was amazing. As a sub goalkeeper, you don’t often think that you’re going to get called upon. But you’ve always got to be ready because anything can happen.

“Thankfully I came on and I did allright.”

You can watch Japan v England live on BBC 1, kick-off at 12am Thursday 2 July.

By Glenn Lavery In Edmonton, Canada