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Sampson urges England to show their bite against Colombia

By Robert Jones

Published 17/06/2015

Confident: Toni Duggan says England have skill and belief
Confident: Toni Duggan says England have skill and belief

England manager Mark Sampson is expecting anything but an easy ride when his side face Colombia tonight (9pm BST), hoping to seal a spot in the last 16 of the Women's World Cup.

The Lionesses currently lie second in Group F after one win and one defeat and are a point behind the surprise leaders heading into the clash at the Olympic Stadium in Montreal.

Although the Colombians are the lowest-ranked side in the group - 22 spots below sixth-placed England in the Fifa standings - Sampson is not taking anything for granted and knows his team will need to be on their game against the South Americans, who defied the odds to beat one of the tournament favourites, France, on Saturday.

Sampson also admits Colombia will be something of an unknown quantity.

"I'd describe them as a really awkward opponent," Sampson said. "They're a team that will make your life as difficult as possible. They'll have players in positions where you don't expect to see them.

"We're a European team. We like to play against the Germans, the French, the Dutch, the Danes and all the Scandinavian countries, where if you lose the ball you know where they're going to be.

"Colombia will cause you problems. They'll get into awkward positions offensively and defensively.

"We've got to be ready for that, react to the problems they give us and make sure we give them a lot, which I think we can."

Colombia's shock win over a France side ranked third in the world fired them to the top of the group and they know that a draw against England will guarantee them a berth in the knock-outs.

England, meanwhile, need to win to be assured of a top-two finish with France favourites to beat last-placed Mexico in the other game, but Sampson's team could also progress as one of the four best third-placed sides.

England striker Toni Duggan, who made her first World Cup start on Saturday as the Lionesses recovered from a 1-0 defeat to France in their opening fixture to defeat Mexico 2-1 in Moncton, is in confident mood ahead of the crucial showdown.

"We're full of confidence and the buzz around the place is good," the 23-year-old said.

"We've got the ability and we've got the belief. Now it's about merging the two together and hopefully we can come out on top.

"Colombia obviously came into the tournament full of confidence and are unbeaten so far.

"They have some great players in their side so we know we'll have to bring our best game against them."

Belfast Telegraph

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