Countdown to tonight’s World Cup semi-final: Millie Bright says Lionesses are ready to win physical battle

SHEFFIELD’S Millie Bright says England are ready to handle the United States’ “deadly” attack and bring “the ultimate energy” to their Women’s World Cup semi-final.

England's Millie Bright: Determined.
England's Millie Bright: Determined.

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Ahead of tonight’s game between the sides in Lyon, two of four players leading the tournament scoring charts with five goals each are from the US squad, in Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan.

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Defender Bright - whose England team-mate Ellen White is also among the players on five goals - said of the defending champions and world No 1-ranked side: “I think they’ve got many strengths.

“Megan Rapinoe, Tobin Heath and Alex Morgan - their front three are deadly. But we’re prepared for that, we’re ready for that. Our players have played against those players before and similar players, so it’s nothing that we haven’t dealt with before.

“I think it’s definitely going to be our biggest test in the tournament so far, but it’s one we’re definitely ready for.

“I just think we’re going to bring the ultimate energy. We’re going to be 100 per cent going out there, win the physical battle and make sure we’re clinical.

“I think that’s something we’ve done really well in the tournament so far - we’ve created a lot but also finished. So that’s something we’re going to go out there and try to do and I 100 per cent believe that we’re going to do it.

“No matter the opponent, we respect them - but as long as we deliver then it doesn’t matter what they bring to the game. We’re ready to deal with that both physically and mentally.”

The most recent match against the three-time world champions was a 2-2 draw in March at the SheBelieves Cup, the four-team US-hosted tournament that England won for the first time.

Bright, who missed that campaign as part of the management of her fitness, has no doubt England can take confidence from that game in Nashville, while also feeling “we’ve moved on from that performance, developed even more and become even stronger.”

England are aiming to make their first Women’s World Cup final. They suffered defeat in the semi-finals of the 2015 competition and in the last four of Euro 2017.

Manager Phil Neville, who succeeded Mark Sampson in January, 2018, has stressed the Lionesses will see it as “a failure” if they are beaten by the US, and that has been echoed by Bright.

The 25-year-old Chelsea player said: “We came here to win the World Cup and that’s still our aim, so obviously it would be disappointing and I think as players we would see that (losing the semi-final) as potentially a failure.

“Our mentality has been to win it, so anything less, we would be disappointed in ourselves.”