England coach Mark Sampson is optimistic ahead of the Women’s World Cup in June despite his team’s uninspiring 1-0 loss to the United States on Friday, the team’s first match since a 3-0 home drudging to Germany in November.
“I’m very pleased with the progress the team have made and we’re keen to take on more of these challenges,” Sampson told The Guardian. “The work ethic of the players tonight was outstanding, and we deserved at least a draw – especially bearing in mind we scored a perfectly good goal.”
But Sampson seemed to concede that his side isn’t yet at the level of the world’s best, falling back on the notion that England “weren’t cut open at all” by the United States and the England was “much better” than they were in November’s loss to Germany, a match with a generous scoreline and one from which it would be hard to go backwards.
“We have to remember that two weeks ago a lot of these girls were on the sun loungers, so to produce a performance of that quality I am pleased,” Sampson said.
Huh? Ok. That’s fine that the FAWSL is in preseason; the NWSL is in pre-preseason. And the World Cup is fewer than four months away.
Sampson’s most telling statement is one applicable to both England and the United States in light of respective recent struggles: “eventually, we’ve got to find a way to win.”
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