Women’s World Cup: England need ‘confrontational’ approach against Japan

Women's World Cup

EDMONTON: England coach Mark Sampson says his Lionesses will need to have a ‘confrontational’ approach to beat defending champions Japan in their Women’s World Cup semi-final on Wednesday.

Japan wore out Australia in their quarter-final, forcing them to chase after their crisp passing for long stretches, but Sampson says, while the challenge will be difficult, his team have the physical attributes for the task.

“It is tough but our team is in a good place, there is no sign of our team running out of steam at the moment,” the England coach told reporters.

“We went right to the wire against Norway, right to the wire in our group games and then again against Canada, where we had to defend for our lives.

“We are in a good place physically and the physical side is going to be really important.

“We are going to need to be very confrontational, very positive in our play.”

While England had to defend for most of the second half against Canada and had a slow start against Norway, Sampson knows his team will have to be at their peak against the world champions.

“To compete against these top tier nations, we have really got to be at our best,” said Sampson. “We are really focussed now on getting the players emotionally in that perfect moment to produce a huge performance, getting the game plan right and we are going to bring it.

“We are going to really front up to this Japanese team and make their life as difficult as we can.”

The victory over Canada in front of a large and partisan crowd has clearly given England a massive boost in confidence but Sampson said it also illustrated the heart and personality of his team.

“They have shown incredible character, resilience and togetherness throughout this tournament and they are determined to keep showing those qualities,” the England coach boasted. “We are a tough team to score against and we are also scoring goals.

“We have scored two goals in each of our last four matches and we are in a great place to really attack this semi-final.”

The United States and Germany meet in the other semi-final on Tuesday. – Reuters