Euro 2017: Millie Bright and Jordan Nobbs excited for Netherlands semi-final
Facing the host nation in the semi-finals of a major tournament is as daunting as it gets, but Jordan Nobbs knows England have the bottle to boot the Netherlands out of Euro 2017 on Thursday.
The Lionesses became the overwhelming favourites to win the first major trophy this country has seen since 1966 after they beat France on Sunday and, with six-time defending champions Germany also falling in the last eight, England suddenly have a target on their backs.
The Netherlands are perhaps the best equipped side to shoot the Lionesses down though and they will take some stopping in front of a raucous home crowd in Enschede as they look to maintain their own 100 per cent record.
But Mark Sampson’s side have seen it all before, having sent Canada home from their own World Cup in the quarter-finals two years ago, and many of that side are likely to start again on Thursday.
Stockton-on-Tees-born Nobbs was on the bench that day and promised this experienced Lionesses squad will not be overawed as they go in hunt of a place in Sunday’s final.
“It is always good to have players with that kind of experience playing,” the Arsenal midfielder said.
“We know it is going to be hard to hear, and every Holland attack will be lifted by the crowd so we have got to be ready for that pressure and I am sure we will be.
“What an incredible time for us to be in the semi-finals. What a moment, playing a home team on their own soil in front of thousands of fans.
“It is what we want to be here for, in these exciting moments and in the knock-out stages, so I think we are all really excited and looking forward to the game.
“Over the next couple of days, we will have to prepare and make sure we do everything possible but we are excited – and confident we can do it.”
It is impossible to deny there is a real wave of momentum pulsing through the England squad, and Sampson deserves huge credit for instilling that confidence.
He has a big decision to make this week though with influential midfielder Jill Scott out through suspension, but goalkeeper Karen Bardsley is expected to recover from the dead leg which forced her off against France.
England lost their World Cup semi-final to Japan two years ago and are out to make amends, but Nobbs insists things are very different this time around.
“I just think the belief in our squad has been incredible, every single moment for the last two years we have believed in this team and going into this tournament that has pushed us in every single game,” she added.
“Beating France for the first time in a long time shows that before the game we knew we were going to win and we felt it, so I think hopefully our football has been shining through as well but that extra edge of belief has pushed us through.”
VIDEO: Interview with Millie Bright and Jordan Nobbs ahead of Netherlands semi-final
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