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Mead: No fear for England ahead of huge semi-final

Opponents United States are current world champions

Beth Mead is ready for the USA (Richard Sellers/PA)
Beth Mead is ready for the USA (Richard Sellers/PA)

Beth Mead has stressed England do not fear the United States ahead of the sides’ Women’s World Cup semi-final and says there is great belief in the camp.

The US, who booked their place in Tuesday’s match in Lyon by beating hosts France 2-1 on Friday night, top the world rankings and are the defending champions. They have won the trophy a record three times.

England – ranked third in the world – achieved their best performance in the competition four years ago when they finished third.

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England’s women have something to celebrate after making the semi-finals (Richard Sellers/PA)

The last meeting between the teams was a 2-2 draw in March at the SheBelieves Cup, the US-hosted four-team tournament that the Lionesses ended up winning for the first time.

And England forward Mead told PA Sport: “They are the type of team that have been there and done it, they have won a final, they have won an Olympics, they have won a World Cup.

“They have the most experience in these situations and they are a top-class team, full of athletes. It is going to be a tough game.

“But we’ve been there and played them in SheBelieves. I think as a team there is nothing to fear. We just have to be ready.”

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Beth Mead says England have nothing to fear (John Walton/PA)

England produced the most impressive display of their campaign in France so far when they defeated Norway 3-0 on Thursday and made the last four for a third successive major tournament.

Mead added: “We’re getting momentum and growing into the tournament. We’re playing some good football and we’re trying to do it consistently over 90 minutes.

“You’re going to have patches where you don’t play so well, but I think we rode that out, played some good football on Thursday and scored three goals.

“As a team we generally don’t go OTT on celebrating but we’re in the semi-final of a World Cup, it’s an amazing feeling, and the girls just went for it on Thursday night. It showed how much it meant to us, to win like we did on such a big occasion, and get to a semi-final.

We're getting momentum and growing into the tournament Beth Mead

“I think there’s a great belief in the team, a great togetherness, and we really do believe we can go on and win it. We’ve just got to actually do it on the pitch now.”

Mead started England’s first two group games and set up Jodie Taylor’s winner in the second, the 1-0 win against Argentina.

With Toni Duggan, recovered from a thigh issue, having taken her place on the left of the attack, Mead subsequently spent the next two matches as an unused substitute.

She then came off the bench on Thursday, replacing Duggan, and within a few minutes provided the assist for England’s third goal, a stunning Lucy Bronze strike.

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Mead has had to settle for a bench spot of late (Richard Sellers/PA)

The 24-year-old Arsenal player, who made her senior international debut in April 2018, hopes she is creating the “biggest headache” for England boss Phil Neville.

“I was lucky enough to start the first two games,” Mead said.

“As a player, of course you are going to be disappointed to (then) not play. But these are the things that happen in football and you have to learn how to deal with them.

“I wanted to come on (against Norway) and try to prove a point again, why I deserve to be in the starting XI, and I guess kind of give Phil the biggest headache, for me and Toni.

“Like me and Toni have said, we are making each other better, because we have to be better than each other to be on the pitch. So it’s the best for the team overall.”

PA

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