HARROGATE’S Rachel Daly is confident that England Lionesses will cope with the pressure of expectation in the games ahead in their quest to justify their status as one of the fancied teams to win the competition.
A TV audience of 6.1million – record viewing figures for a women’s football match in the UK – watched Sunday’s match against Scotland and more high numbers are expected for the Lionesses’ second Group D match against Argentina in Le Havre tonight.
The Houston Dash midfielder said: “The last women’s World Cup was amazing and the pressure is on us now and I think it is something we are thriving on with the expectation being a lot higher. I think that is good for us.
“A lot of people are behind us and it is nice to have that attention in a good way. But it is important we stay focused on our role and make sure we are training hard on the pitch.”
Meanwhile, Daly’s team-mate and good friend Millie Bright believes that being brave on the ball has been the key to the Lionesses’ evolution under Phil Neville – and to keeping him happy.
Despite England’s 2-1 win in their opener with Scotland, Neville was far from satisfied with his side’s second-half performance, with the display serving as a warning ahead of the game against the South Americans, who secured an impressive draw in their first game with Japan.
Killamarsh-born Bright, a doubt after coming off on Sunday, said: “He has put a lot of confidence into us in being more brave on the ball and playing out from the back, no matter what the team comes up against. His attitude is that he will never shout at us for making a mistake.
“It is more if you are not brave enough to get on the ball. He is always pushing you to get on the ball and that if you make a mistake, it does not matter.
“I think we have developed as a squad and as individuals, we have got better technically under him. We have started to play through the thirds and have become more of a special team.
“I think our mentality has always been a winning one before Phil. That was always one of our key values. It is just confidence in possession and having different ways of getting around teams and that has been our main focus.”