Roebuck: Lionesses can thrive in World Cup quarter final

Thursday 13 Oct 2016
Ellie Roebuck in action against Brazil

Ellie Roebuck is not at all fazed by the prospect of coming up against the holders in the quarter final of the FIFA Women’s U17 World Cup.

The goalkeeper and her England team-mates will take on Japan in the last eight on Thursday.

Naoki Kusunoset’s side, the 2014 winners, topped Group D with three wins from three, scoring 13 goals in the process, and they are many people’s favourites to retain the trophy.

England v Japan

FIFA Women's U17 World Cup
Quarter Final
5pm BST, Thursday 13 October 2016
Al Hassan International Stadium, Irbid
Live on British Eurosport

But, having experienced famous comebacks with this squad of players against Brazil and Serbia, Roebuck said England perform better in higher-profile matches.

She explained: “We all know it’s going to be tough but I actually think that’s a good thing for us because we thrive off big games.

“We step up on the big occasions and we want to do it again.

“We thrive off pressure situations and big games, so against Japan we want to show why we’re in the quarter finals in the first place and hopefully we can deliver again against another big nation."

Roebuck started all three of England’s Group C matches, the draws against North Korea and Nigeria and the win over Brazil – she also played in the 1-1 draw with Japan in Los Angeles in February.

And she has drawn confidence from the fact England, in their first World Cup appearance since 2008, are going into the knockout stages having yet to taste defeat.

Roebuck added: “Being unbeaten has boosted morale going into the quarter finals.

“We’ve done well all year and winning the majority of our games is a really big thing for us.

“I’m sure Japan respect our record and they know how good we are.”

One player who will not feature against Japan will be Roebuck’s Manchester City club mate Georgia Stanway.

The playmaker will miss the quarter final through suspension, having picked up her second booking of the tournament in the early stages of England’s win over Brazil on Saturday.

But she put that personal disappointment to one side and showed nerves of steel to convert the two penalties which handed the Lionesses a crucial victory.

Georgia STanway celebrates after scoring a penalty against Brazil

Stanway celebrates after scoring the first penalty against Brazil

Stanway said: “Receiving the yellow card in the first five minutes obviously wasn’t ideal but you’ve got to bounce back.

“I had to score those two penalties for the rest of the team and I’m delighted I could do that.

“It was a massive team performance. It was important that we kept our heads when we went behind.

“I played my part and so did everyone else. I thought we were brilliant with the way we responded.”

She added: “It is a massive personal achievement to say that I’ve scored at a World Cup. It’s not something many people can say they have done and it was an unbelievable feeling.

“But to score the goals that got us into the quarter finals was more important; goals that actually meant something for the team.”

Stanway also played against Japan in February and she, too, realises just how tough an assignment it will be – but believes England are primed to produce another big performance.

She said: “Everyone knows Japan are a very technical team. They scored a lot of goals in the group stage and they are the holders so we know they have got pedigree at this level.

“We’re just going to play the way we play and hopefully that will speak for itself. We just want to win.

“We will be up for it. It's not going to be easy, being the quarter final of a World Cup.

“But we’re not ready to go home. Nobody fancies going back to school just yet.”

Watch England v Japan live on British Eurosport.

By Glenn Lavery