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Bronze: Beating France would send out a strong message

England Women plan to cause uproar in their World Cup opener against France, according to City and England ace Lucy Bronze.

The Three Lionesses have failed to beat Les Bleues in 41 years - including defeats in the 2011 World Cup and the European Championships in 2013 - but the defender insists Mark Sampson's side are in better shape now and are more determined than ever to secure a win.

"You can't compare now to then," she asserted. "There's a bit more pressure on France here.

"A lot of people think this could be France's tournament and they're certainly a very good team but I don't think we're too far behind.

"If we could beat them, it would send out a strong message - it would cause a bit of an uproar in the tournament."

When asked what she felt were the Three Lionesses' targets in the competition, the left-back replied: "Obviously we want to win the tournament and we will go out there to do that – every team will. That is the ultimate goal for us all, but you have to have a realistic goal to start with.

Lucy Bronze v Canada

"Our main goal has to be to do better than we have ever done. We have never gone beyond the quarter-final and that in itself would be a huge success.

"And then we would only be two games away from winning a World Cup – and who knows where that momentum and confidence could take us?

"As a player, you always want to improve. If you’re not in the squad, you want to get in the squad. If you’re not in the starting eleven, you want to get into the starting eleven and this is another challenge.

"We want to change the way people think about England teams. At the men's tournaments, we haven't exceeded expectations and it's the same with the women's.

If we can change that, it could have a knock-on effect - even for the men's team.

Bronze, who underwent knee surgery earlier in the year, was forced to miss the start of the FA Women's Super League season with City. Although she had always remained hopeful of her chances of being picked for Sampson's squad, she admits it was still a relief to receive confirmation of her place.

The 23-year-old was delighted to return to international action after six months' absence in the friendly against tournament hosts Canada, insisting she's fighting fit and feels good.

She explained: "I was the only player in the squad to have not played an international in 2015 so to get a full game in before a World Cup was a massive thing for me.

Lucy Bronze in training

"As I was out for seven weeks, I’ve actually had a bit of a rest and I feel really, really fresh. So when you look at it like that, sometimes an injury isn’t always a bad thing in the long run.

"Hopefully that time off will benefit me over the next few weeks. A match is obviously a different intensity and tempo to training and having played the full 90 [against Canada], I now feel on par with everybody else in the squad.

"It was a massive relief and I felt great afterwards - just not about the result!"

Back to the game in hand and Bronze cannot wait for kick-off on Tuesday, declaring: "Moncton's the best venue you could possibly have at the tournament for the game. It's going to be quite an atmosphere.

"Training's been going very well, everybody's really fit and we're definitely ready to go."

The clash kicks off at 6pm BST and will be broadcast live on BBC Two, while we will also have coverage on Twitter and a match report shortly after full-time.

Watch the video below to see how the Three Lionesses have been preparing for the game in training.


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