England Women v France Women: European dominance the aim as England face a French test at Keepmoat Stadium

England striker Toni Duggan can feel a heightened sense of expectation surrounding the Lionesses as they approach Euro 2017.

Toni Duggan: Aiming for a confidence-booster at the Keepmoat Stadium tonight.

On the eve of their latest major test, against France in Doncaster tonight, Duggan outlined her belief that Mark Sampson’s team can handle the pressure and become European champions in Holland next summer.

It will be opposition such as France, who England’s women last beat in 1974, that must be overcome to fulfil trophy ambitions.

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Tonight’s friendly against Les Bleues at the Keepmoat Stadium will serve as a useful form guide nine months out from the tournament, even though England know how fortunes can fluctuate within a short time.

A glum-faced 3-0 defeat to Germany in a Wembley showcase for the women’s game in November, 2014 was followed by England reaching the 2015 World Cup semi-finals, and then beating the Germans in the third-place game.

“Definitely the belief around the players is there’s no reason we can’t go all the way at the European Championship,” said Duggan at Thackley Juniors FC after hosting a surprise training session to celebrate FA Girls’ Football Week. “I don’t want to start putting pressure on ourselves, but as players now those are the pressures we are facing, and that’s our answer – we do believe we can go all the way.

“And why not? We have players right across the board who have experience and can go toe to toe with the top nations.”

France may dominate the rivalry with England, but that could soon change, starting tonight (8pm).

“We’ve made progress then haven’t we?” said 25-year-old Duggan. “I’d love to beat France.”