Sampson hails battling Lionesses

Published: Sunday 5th July 2015 by The News Editor

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England boss Mark Sampson was full of praise for his players’ fighting spirit as they beat Germany 1-0 after extra-time to finish third in the Women’s World Cup.

The Lionesses suffered heartbreak in the semi-finals as Laura Bassett’s stoppage-time own-goal saw them beaten 2-1 by Japan in cruel fashion.

But Fara Williams’ penalty at the start of the second half of extra-time earned England the bronze medal and Sampson could not praise his players enough.

“These players, honestly, I don’t know where they get it from, they find a way to dig deep,” he told BBC Three.

“We said before the game, life’s horrible, it’s really tough sometimes, you get a kick in the teeth just when you think you’ve made it and wow did we get a kick in the teeth in our semi-final.

“But we wanted to show the world today that everyone has tough times but dust yourselves down, pick yourselves back up and go again.

“They’re just awesome as a group of players. Awesome.”

Williams joined her manager in crediting the spirit in the group, adding: “We know the squad coming into this tournament had big hope and big beliefs within this 23.

“Our performance today against the European champions showed we’re all together, how strong we are.”

Referee Ri Hyang-ok pointed to the spot when Tabea Kemme fouled substitute Lianne Sanderson and Samspon, who is planning a “massive, massive celebration”, believes that was no more than his team deserved.

“We deserved that, we really deserved it. We’ve come to this tournament and every game we’ve played we’ve been there fighting away,” he said.

“We’ve played three of the top nations in the world: France, Japan, Germany.

“This team are incredible, just incredible.”

The exploits of the women’s team in their run to the last four has caught the imagination of the British public and Sampson was eager to thank all those back at home for their support.

“Thank you to everyone back home, the support has been incredible, awesome, amazing,” he added.

“It made such a difference for us, we really appreciate it.”

Published: Sunday 5th July 2015 by The News Editor

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