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Lionesses will handle pressure of Euros semi against hosts Holland and a sell-out crowd, says boss Sampson

Date Posted,August 2, 2017

Mark Sampson promised his Lionesses will roar when they take on the Netherlands in their Euro 2017 semi-final.

A record UK TV audience for a women’s game of five million is expected to tune in on Thursday night to see if skipper Steph Houghton can lead England into the final in front of a sellout 30,000 crowd.

But Sampson reckons his team will do the nation proud.

He said: “We’ve played a lot of big games, at the World Cup, in America, and here.

“We’ve talked about how we perform in them and how we have to use the pressure. We can be at our best in these big tense games under pressure. We can be at our best under the pressure these big games bring.

England beat hosts Canada in the bronze medal match at the 2015 World Cup (Image: Bongarts/Getty)

“At the World Cup we beat Canada in their own backyard, with 50,000 there. There were 30,000 when we won in New York this year. Those games give us confidence that we win in front of big crowds.

“It’s a massive game for us, but it’s a massive game for Holland too. We feel in a good position to handle that pressure.”

England lost the World Cup semi-final through Laura Bassett’s freak own goal in the last minute of extra-time in 2015 but have since beaten the world’s top three, United States, Germany and, in Sunday’s quarter-final, France , all for the first time in decades.

Japan vs England
The Lionesses’ last major tournament semi ended in bizarre, heartbreaking fashion (Image: Getty)

They are now favourites to end England’s 51-year wait for a tournament success, cranking up the pressure on a team already expecting to inspire the nation’s young girls.

England’s positive approach was underlined by Arsenal midfielder Jordan Nobbs who said: “To play the home nation in front of 30,000 people – what a feeling! We are looking forward to stepping out onto the pitch and putting on a good performance.”

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