John Griffiths not ready to come home from World Cup

Wednesday 05 Oct 2016
John Griffiths's side have earned two draws so far at Jordan 2016

The equation is simple. England must defeat Brazil on Saturday to progress to the knockout stage of the FIFA Women’s U17 World Cup.

John Griffiths’s side sit third in Group C after draws with North Korea and Nigeria, the Asian and African champions respectively.

They are just a point behind the South Americans, rendering the weekend’s meeting a winner-takes-all encounter.

England v Brazil

FIFA Women's U17 World Cup
Group C
2pm BST, Saturday 8 October 2016
Al Hassan International Stadium, Irbid
Live on British Eurosport

The Young Lionesses have been in Jordan since 20 September, and the head coach is determined to extend his stay in the Arab nation.

“We’re definitely not ready to go home yet,” Griffiths said.

“I’m really excited about the Brazil game. We came through a tough, physical battle against Nigeria unscathed and we’ve got a fully fit squad going into Saturday which is really important.

“The players will have a day off on Thursday to relax and then we’ll get our heads back on it.

“The players and staff have been exemplary both on and off the pitch and they absolutely deserve to be staying in this World Cup longer than Saturday.”

England required an added-time equaliser by Alessia Russo to rescue a 3-3 draw with North Korea last Saturday, while captain Lotte Wubben-Moy led by example as they defended stoically against the profligate Nigerians on Tuesday afternoon.

Alessia Russo celebrates her last-gasp equaliser against North Korea

Alessia Russo celebrates her equaliser against North Korea

And Griffiths believes everything will click into gear at the weekend.

He explained: “We still haven’t hit top form yet.

“Against North Korea we attacked better than we defended and against Nigeria we defended better than we attacked, so if we can put the two together on Saturday we will definitely cause Brazil some problems.

“We’ll give it our best shot. If we’re still in the game at half-time we’ve got a real opportunity.”

Griffiths continued: “Nothing changes for us. Even if we’d have lost to Nigeria we’d have still needed to get something from the Brazil game and that’s exactly what we’ll be aiming to do.

“All the pressure is on Brazil. I watched their game against North Korea and they are decent defensively. But they have got to keep their counsel against the attacking prowess that we have got.”

England’s final Group C match will be live on British Eurosport.

By Glenn Lavery