Portugal v England: Sampson demands England sustain standards

England boss Mark Sampson has emphasised the importance of momentum ahead of his side's final group match against Portugal tonight at the Women's European Championships.

England's Toni Duggan during a training session at Sporting 70 Sports Centre, Utrecht. (Picture: Mike Egerton/PA Wire)

The Lionesses are on the brink of qualification for the knockout phase after a 6-0 win over Scotland and a 2-0 success against Spain in their first two games and a point tonight would guarantee top spot in Group D.

With that in mind, coupled with the exertions of the players against Spain, who had more than 70 per cent of possession against England, it has been suggested that Sampson could make changes against Portugal, who are the lowest-ranked team remaining in the competition.

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However, he insists England will not be taking their foot off the gas as they chase a third straight win.

“We’re focused on the next game. We know why we’re here – we’re here to win,” he said.

“Whoever stands in our way we’re going to find a way to get through them, round them or over them. We want to make sure we keep moving in this tournament and we’re the last team to go home.

“At the moment our focus is on momentum and making sure we keep momentum and keep moving forward. We want to move into the knock-out stage feeling that we’re confident, full of belief and that we’ve got a real sense of momentum behind us.

“If that’s the case then whoever we face, one, we’ll be ready for it, and two, they will be aware that we’re a good team.”

Barcelona-bound Toni Duggan could be one of the players to come into the team against Portugal while defender Casey Stoney has been nursing a hamstring injury but could be on the bench.

Head coach Anna Signeul, meanwhile, remains confident that Scotland Women can reach the knockout stages despite losing their first two Group D matches. The Scots went down 2-1 to Portugal on Sunday following that 6-0 thrashing by England. However, Signeul’s side can still get through if they beat Spain by two goals in Deventer tonight and England beat Portugal.

The results have been disappointing so far in the tournament but we need to continue to believe in what we’re doing, and believe in ourselves” said Signeul.