Toni Duggan: 'I can't tell you how much we want this'

Tuesday 30 Jun 2015
Toni Duggan, centre, toasts England's quarter final win with Claire Rafferty and Carly Telford

Not usually one to be lost for words, Toni Duggan said she would be speechless if England Women reach the World Cup final.

The bubbly Liverpudlian and her Lionesses team-mates will take on reigning champions Japan in Edmonton for a place in the Canada 2015 showpiece.

It is the first time England have got to this stage of the competition.

Japan v England

FIFA Women's World Cup 2015
Commonwealth Stadium, Edmonton
Live on BBC One from 11.10pm, Wednesday

Duggan said: “If we got to the World Cup final I’d be speechless.

“The girls are on a high getting this far. To get to a World Cup final would be more than a dream come true.

“It will be the biggest night of our lives and we are going to give it everything.”

Japan won the 2011 World Cup in Germany – with their only defeat at that tournament coming against England in the group stage.

Mark Sampson has led England to a first-ever World Cup semi-final

They collected a silver medal at the London Olympics the following year and have won every match in Canada so far.

Duggan, 23, is full of respect for Norio Sasaki’s side – but she believes England will have a greater desire to make it to Vancouver for Sunday’s final.

She said: “Japan are going to take some beating – they are a great team – but with the belief and confidence we have got in this squad at the minute, we are going to be hard to beat.

“It’s going to be really tough. They are the current world champions. But I just want to focus on us, the players we’ve got and the ability we’ve got in our squad.

“Obviously Japan have got great players, too, but sometimes it just comes down to who wants it more – and I can’t tell you how much we want to be in a World Cup final.

England celebrate their World Cup quarter final win over Canada

The Lionesses celebrate their quarter-final win over Canada

“The girls are ready and raring to go.”

Duggan came on as a substitute in England’s opening-day defeat by France before starting the next three matches, against Mexico, Colombia and Norway.

The Manchester City forward was on the bench for the historic quarter-final win against Canada – and she reckons head coach Mark Sampson’s penchant for squad rotation will pay dividends now his side are in the latter stages.

Duggan explained: “We’ve got a fresh squad. When I’ve been to other tournaments and you’re four games in, you can feel your legs going.

“It can be tough if you’ve stuck with the same 11, so it’s great credit to Mark that he has changed it up as much as he has.

Toni Duggan lines up ahead of  England

Duggan has scored 14 goals in 30 internationals

“As players it has been difficult when the team [has been] announced because you’re sitting there nervously. You never know what he’s thinking; whether you’re in or out. But the players have dealt with that great.

“Whether we are starting or on the bench we have given it everything – I think that has come across in the pictures of us celebrating. That’s the spirit we’ve got.”

Duggan, who has been in the England set-up since U15s level, helped her country win the U19s Euros in 2009 alongside current team-mates Jordan Nobbs, Jade Moore and Lucy Bronze – but she said this is the greatest international squad she has been a part of.

Duggan added: “We’ve got lots of experience in the squad as well as young, fearless players coming through and we’ve got a good togetherness in the group as well.

“When you merge all that together you become a difficult team to beat, and we’ve proved that.”

By Glenn Lavery In Edmonton, Canada