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Duggan: There's great belief within this squad

Toni Duggan asserts England Women are in high spirits ahead of Wednesday night's crucial World Cup clash with Colombia.

Having picked up their first victory of the tournament with a 2-1 win over Mexico on Saturday night to bounce back from their opening game defeat to France, Mark Sampson's side know another triumph will clinch qualification to the knock-out stages.

The South Americans however currently top Group F and find themselves in the same situation. In that knowledge, Duggan, who has featured in each of the Three Lionesses' fixtures, admits her side will have to be at their best but is feeling positive.

"We’re full of confidence and the buzz around the place is good," she declared. "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.

"It’s always difficult when you lose the first game in a tournament. There are a lot of examples out there of teams from different sports who have lost their opening game and gone on to do well in a tournament so we take belief from that.

Toni Duggan

"Colombia obviously came into the tournament full of confidence and are unbeaten so far. They have got some great players so we know we’ll have to bring our best game on Wednesday."

The striker was delighted to make her first start in a senior World Cup game against Mexico, and revealed her experiences with England at youth level had helped her to prepare for it.

"I was buzzing to get the minutes under my belt against France, and to start the next game was fantastic," she reflected.

"Our goal in this tournament is to do as well as we possibly can and I wanted to help the team in any way I could.

I don’t think I’d have been as prepared for this tournament had it not been for those two U20s World Cups.

"I kind of knew what to expect. And I know what to expect in a pressure situation like Wednesday will be. I’ve been in a similar situation before.

"In the 2008 World Cup, we needed to get at least a point against New Zealand in the last group game, which we managed to do.

"Those two World Cups played a massive part in preparing me for Canada and understanding the pressures and the environment."

As part of a much-improved attack force against the Mexicans, the 23-year-old earned praise from her boss in his post-match press conference. Duggan was pleased the Lionesses were able to show their prowess, which had been lacking in a more defensive display against France.

Toni Duggan and Lucy Bronze

"The Mexico game was a chance for the strikers to step up and show their ability," she stated.

"Kaz [Carney] coming on made a big difference, and obviously little Fran Kirby popped up with a goal as well.

"We’ve got a lot of forwards on the bench, itching to get on and that’s the beauty of this team.

"We know any one of the forwards is good enough to start any game and we’re all fighting for a place, but it’s healthy competition – and that can only be a good thing for England.

"We’ve got great ability throughout the squad and I’m sure it’s difficult for Mark to pick his team.

"But we’ll all be ready if and when the call comes."

The clash kicks off at 9pm BST and will be broadcast live on BBC Three, while we will also have coverage on Twitter and a match report shortly after full-time.


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