England Women v USA Women: We have the hunger to deliver World Cup shock – Lucy Bronze

Lucy Bronze feels England have an edge over their fellow Women’s World Cup semi-finalists because they are “more hungry” to reach a final.

England's Lucy Bronze.

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Holding key to future of women’s game

The Lionesses face holders the United States at Lyon’s Groupama Stadium tonight, with Euro 2017 champions Holland taking on Sweden, who were runners-up at the 2016 Olympics, at the same venue in the other last-four game 24 hours later.

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England were beaten in the semis of the 2015 World Cup and the Euros two years ago.

And right-back Bronze said: “We’ve had back-to-back semi-finals, which is an amazing feat for this team, but we’re short of that last step and we’ve still got that hunger.

“And especially now – you look at the four teams left. The Olympics, the World Cup, the Euros – these other three teams have reached finals in recent years.

“So we have probably got that edge, where we are a little bit more hungry for it, we are maybe more destined and want to go to a final in that respect.”

Regarding the dramatic 2-1 loss to Japan in the 2015 match – England’s first ever Women’s World Cup semi-final – which was settled by Laura Bassett’s stoppage-time own-goal, Bronze said: “I think from losses and bad things, you learn more than you ever will from winning.

“And I think there’s no more of a brutal way to have lost a game than the way we did in a World Cup semi-final of all things.

“So I think from that we’ve learned more than anybody could ever learn from any other defeat or any other game, which is probably why we are a little bit more resilient.”

The US, the three-time winners who top the world rankings, have made it into the last four in France after 2-1 wins against Spain in the last 16 and then hosts France in the quarter-finals.

Bronze said: “I think they’re a great team – they are the world No 1s, the holders of the World Cup and they will always have a great team.

“But I think teams have started knocking on the door, getting closer and closer, and that kind of spurs other teams on to go, ‘Oh, maybe we can do that as well’.

“They’re just as beatable as anybody else.

“Anybody could be lifting this trophy at the end of this tournament.”

Bronze starred in England’s 3-0 quarter-final victory over Norway, setting up Jill Scott’s opener, having a part in the the build-up to the second goal, scored by Ellen White, and then netting the third with a superb strike.

Afterwards the 27-year-old – who was nominated for last year’s inaugural women’s Ballon d’Or –was hailed by England boss Phil Neville as the best player in the world.

Asked about that, Bronze, speaking at a press conference on Monday, said: “Phil’s been quite vocal about having huge compliments for me.

“I think he said it to me a couple of weeks after taking charge (in January 2018) – he was like, ‘You’re the best player in the world’ and I said, ‘No, Phil, I’m really not’.

“He tells me every day, and I’m like, ‘Phil, really I’m not’. It’s lovely that he has so much belief and confidence in me.

“I don’t see it as pressure because I don’t feel like I’m there yet. I’m still striving to be better every day. I’m driven and I know part of him saying that is he wants to drive me and push me on, and I’ll take that on.

“It’s a lovely compliment to receive, although I don’t fully believe him. I don’t think I’ll ever get there, but I’ll try my best.”

When then asked which players she regarded as the world’s best, Bronze spoke about Germany midfielder Dzsenifer Marozsan, whom she plays alongside for Lyon Feminin.

On Tuesday’s game being at a ground where she plays some home matches, Bronze said: “It’s a stadium I love playing at. The atmospheres you get are unbelievable and I think that kind of brings out the best in me. I’m sure it’s going to bring the best out of England.

“We live for these games, for big games. I’m super exited for it.”

She added: “(Former Liverpool boss) Gerard Houllier works closely with Lyon and he always texts to say good luck to all the girls, and I’ve had a few messages over the past two days from a lot of the Lyon staff saying, ‘Good luck, beat the US for us’.

“So I think we have a few more supporters than we maybe normally have in the French and OL.”

The only player not taking part on Monday as England trained in front of the media was defender Abbie McManus, who sat things out due to feeling unwell.