Sampson issues Germany challenge

Published: Friday 3rd July 2015 by The News Editor

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Mark Sampson has challenged England to finish the World Cup as unofficial European champions by beating Germany in the third-place play-off.

The Lionesses have stayed in Edmonton after their semi-final defeat by Japan, who headed to Vancouver for Sunday’s final against the United States.

It means England’s main aim is out of their reach, but with Euro 2017 success the longer-term objective, there is an opportunity for Sampson and his players to stake an early claim on being the best on the continent.

Germany beat England 3-0 at Wembley last November when 45,000 turned out on a wet north London day to see Silvia Neid’s side put Sampson’s troops firmly in what was then their place, of being a side just below the top tier in the women’s game.

Yet England have improved since then, and ahead of Saturday’s clash at the Commonwealth Stadium, manager Sampson said: “I won’t have to get them up for the game. They know we are playing Germany, the greatest team in the history of women’s football, in a World Cup match.

“For us this is a European final. It’s not a third/fourth-place play-off for us. This is our final.

“We are going to play the European champions, we’re going to try and leave this tournament as the European champions.”

Germany have won the last six European Championship titles and they were three goals clear by half-time in the Wembley clash and able to coast through the second half.

England could show changes from the Japan game and it remains to be seen whether Laura Bassett, whose stoppage-time own goal gave Japan a winning 2-1 lead, is involved.

The likes of Karen Carney and Fran Kirby could feature, but Sampson, as ever, will pick a side to counter the opposition.

At Wembley he selected three forwards and England were exposed in midfield, which may prompt him to take a more conservative approach this time.

He is confident England, who reached the World Cup semi-finals for the first time in their history, will at the very least this time be more competitive against Germany.

Sampson told FATV: “How many times in your life do you get the chance to be a genuine history maker?

“These players have embraced that challenge. They gave their all to try and make history, and they have, and I know for sure they are going to be desperate to do it again.

“It’s a challenge. We all saw that back in November, but this team will show how far they have come since then.”

Published: Friday 3rd July 2015 by The News Editor

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