'We're finally in Canada - let's make some memories'

Tuesday 26 May 2015
Marieanne Spacey with Mark Sampson
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Marieanne Spacey has urged England Women to "make some memories" at next month's World Cup.

The Lionesses landed in Canada on Monday evening ahead of their final warm-up match, against the host nation on Friday night.

And after making it to the tournament courtesy of a flawless record in qualifying - and coming off the back of a successful Cyprus Cup campaign - assistant head coach Spacey wants the England players to embrace the whole experience.

Canada v England

Women's International
Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton, Canada
7pm (Midnight BST) Friday 29 May 2015
Live on BBC Red Button

"This is it," she said, after stepping off flight AC849 from Heathrow to Toronto. "After the euphoria of reaching the World Cup all those months ago we are finally here.

"We are here to do a job and we are here because of all the hard work the players and staff put in to get us to this position.

"The important thing for the players is that we want them to make some memories.

"For some in the squad this is their first World Cup, for others it might be their last – and for some it could be their first and last. Who knows?

"That is why it is vital they enjoy the whole experience as much as possible. Learn from the highs, learn from the lows and just embrace it.

"Hundreds of thousands of people would trade places with these girls over the next few weeks. Make the most of it, play with a smile on your face and make some memories."

England open their group campaign against France, who are ranked third in the world, in Moncton on Tuesday 9 June.

They then take on Mexico in the same city on Saturday 13 June, followed by Colombia in Montreal on Wednesday 17 June.

Spacey, a former Three Lions striker of the highest calibre, joined forces with head coach Mark Sampson and goalkeeping coach Lee Kendall in January 2014 and the trio guided England to victory in their final six qualifiers, sealing a spot at the World Cup with a 4-0 defeat of Wales last August.

"That seems such a long time ago," Spacey added. "The World Cup has always been there for us since then and we have just taken it one camp at a time.

"We have the talent on the pitch but what is even more pleasing is the attitude and application of the players off the pitch.

"Now that we are within touching distance of the tournament the amount of time that has passed seems surreal. It has flown by. And that is why we must make the most of it."

England

England's squad for the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup

England enjoyed a tough 10-day training camp at St. George's Park last week, which culminated in a visit from FA President HRH The Duke of Cambridge, and they arrive in Canada in good shape, says Spacey.

The France game is now just two weeks away, but before then Sampson will pit his charges against the team England defeated in the Cyprus Cup final in March.

However, with a partisan home crowd expected to fill the Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton, Spacey believes England's final friendly is ideal preparation for the matches ahead.

She said: "It's an opportunity for the girls to feel the atmosphere. Canada are the home nation and all the expectation will be on them.

England Women pose with Prince William in the Billy Wright dressing room at St. George

England Women pose with Prince William in the Billy Wright dressing room at St. George's Park

"The crowd is going to be totally pro-Canada and that's completely understandable.

"When we play France in Moncton it will be the same sort of experience because Moncton is a French-speaking town and they will probably have the majority of the crowd in their favour.

"We have played Canada a few times over the last few years so we know a lot about each other.

"So what we will gain from this match perhaps more than anything tactical is an understanding of the atmosphere and intensity of the crowd we may face during the tournament."

Spacey continued: "We arrive in Canada with most of our work done – now it's just about the final bits of preparation ahead of that first game."

By Glenn Lavery In Toronto, Canada