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Lionesses have answered their critics

By John Skilbeck

England manager Mark Sampson believes his team produced the perfect response to their critics after powering through to the Women's World Cup quarter-finals.

Right-back Lucy Bronze hit a powerful 20-yard winner as England beat Norway 2-1 in Ottawa, teeing up a shot at tournament hosts Canada on Saturday night.

Sampson feels women's football has been treated with derision in England at times, so for his Lionesses to produce a gutsy performance that showed they have the determination to reach the top was immensely satisfying.

"The women's football community has taken some flak," said Sampson. "We've had to go through some tough times, we've had a lot of doubters and a lot of haters in the past, but we've stayed on task and we've stuck together.

"This team is determined to keep inspiring the next generation."

England must forget about their May friendly defeat to Canada ahead of the Vancouver clash. Sampson has written it off already, as England had only landed in Canada four days previously, barely trained and were acclimatising to conditions.

He preferred to focus on the two most recent competitive matches that the teams have contested, both of which came at the Cyprus Cup. England won 2-0 in the group stage in 2014 and 1-0 in this year's final.

"We haven't forgotten the two times we've got the better of Canada in the last 18 months. They were important games," Sampson added.

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