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Bardsley: We're taking forward a lot of positive energy

Karen Bardsley insists England Women are improving game by game and are relishing the chance to progress in the Women's World Cup.

The City and England shot-stopper has completed every minute of the Three Lionesses' campaign so far, and hopes Mark Sampson's side can show what they are made of in the knock-out stages.

"That’s what tournament football’s all about," she asserted. "It’s about finding your feet in the first game, finding what works and gaining confidence.

"We’re feeling a lot of support. There’s a lot of positive energy we’re taking forward."

As reward for their second-place finish in Group F, England will face Norway in Ottawa on Monday for a quarter-final spot.

Although fully aware of their opponents' threats, Bardsley states her side will be ready, and confident they can emerge victorious.

Karen Bardsley

"We know what Norway are capable of," she declared. "We’ve seen great set pieces from them in this tournament and they’ve drawn with Germany in the group stage.

"Any team capable of holding Germany is very good. They’re going to be dangerous but we’ve got momentum."

Bardsley played a crucial role in her side's qualification-ensuring win over Colombia.

Alert despite having little to do until then, she raced out to close down Nataly Arias, making herself big to produce a fine stop at a crucial time, preserving England’s clean sheet going into the break.

Reflecting on the stop, she recalls: "I just did everything I could to get my body in the way. In the end, I had to put my beak there instead.

You’ll do anything to keep the ball out. I did whatever I could do to get close to the ball before she made contact.

"I had a feeling she was going to lob me. That was my instinct so I got myself as big as I could. If they’d have scored, it would have become a different game. I’m really pleased with the save."

Colombia did pull a goal back in injury time - much to England's disappointment - through Lady Andrade. Although there was little she could do to prevent it, Bardsley fell victim to criticism but refuses to let it affect her.

"It's very annoying," she admitted. "In my position, I’m always going to get a bit of flak. I take it with a pinch of salt.

Karen Bardsley

"People can say what they want. It’s their opinion. We forget what we don’t need to take with us."

Ahead of the crucial clash with the Norwegians, Sampson has spoken of the need to 'choose the right weapons' in the Lionesses' battle.

Having employed different formations and line-ups throughout the group stage, the boss has earned praise from his players for his tactical mind - particularly from his skipper, Steph Houghton.

"Mark’s trusting us to play different formations depending on the opposition and it’s working well," the defender said. "We showed our quality, tempo, control and game management against Colombia.

"Norway will be tough - they’ve got physical, strong players who’ve experienced big tournaments - but we’re gaining momentum."

The clash kicks off at 10pm 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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