Proud Mark Sampson heaps praise on England after comeback World Cup win

Proud Mark Sampson heaps praise on England after comeback World Cup win

Posted on - June 23 Tuesday, 2015

Women’s World Cup last 16: Norway 1-2 England
Second-half goals from Houghton and Bronze secure quarter-final spot

n overjoyed Mark Sampson was in jocular mood after his England side reached a significant milestone in their history, posting their first knockout stage victory in any World Cup finals with a 2-1 win over Norway in Ottawa. “Don’t drop it,” the coach said as Karen Bardsley, his goalkeeper, was presented with her much-deserved player of the match award.

Then it was time for Sampson to turn serious and praise his Lionesses after they came from a goal down to see off the challenge of Norway. “The first emotion is really a sense of pride,” said the 32-year-old whose second half introduction of Jill Scott and Jodie Taylor from the bench changed the narrative. “To show the character and resilience to come back from a goal down is incredible.

“Let’s not forget the environmental conditions, the weather was pretty warm. The players were immense to overcome everything and come back. Big credit to Norway for the first half though. We were reasonably fortunate to come in 0-0 at half-time but in the second half our performance was far better, we managed to change the game from the bench and in the end we were deserved winners.”

Now a Canada side managed by Newcastle United fan John Herdman from Consett in County Durham await in Vancouver on Saturday night – or early hours of Sunday in the UK. “We’ve got to take on an excellent Canadian team in front of a partisan crowd,” said Sampson, whose squad contains several Sunderland supporters. “Credit to John for the way he organises them. We’re going to have to produce another massive England performance.

“Norway was a big win for our country. But we’ll enjoy tonight and a couple of days off. We’ll enjoy some time out now but be want to continue this journey. We’re in a good place now. This team is determined to continue to inspire the next generation.”

There was still time for him to hail Lucy Bronze, scorer of the winning goal as “potentially the best right-back in the world.”

Even Pellerud, the Norway manager, had already admitted he had been out-witted by a coach almost 30 years his junior. “We started to struggle in the second half,” said the 61-year-old who led his country to World Cup glory in 1995. “England’s coach was very clever tactically.”