"Nobody cares who loses a semi-final. It's all about winning.
"No-one cares about silver and bronze - it's the gold medal everyone wants."
Bold words from England coach Phil Neville. After all, third place is the best that the Lionesses have done in a World Cup - and for the past four years, the images of that campaign have been much lauded by the FA in their efforts to promote the women's game.
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Indeed, former coach Mark Sampson was delighted with third place, and pointed to it as a sign of his squad's progress. He was right to, as well; it was his first major tournament, and the first World Cup since the introduction of FA Women's Super League, with its initial steps towards professionalisation.
Phil Neville in England training
Image credit: Reuters
Now, though, Neville is probably correct that losing at the semi-final stage would be considered a failure back at home. The England team are now - finally - fully professional. The whole set-up of elite women's football is geared towards the national team's success. Making it to the final four is, by this stage, nothing new. What the Lionesses need is a final - and if they made it, it would be their first in a decade, since they were trounced in the Euro 2009 showpiece by Germany.
All they have to do is make it past the USA - long the benchmark of women's football success thanks to their excellent infrastructure and the access girls have to the sport from school onwards.
Neville has mentioned previously his admiration for the USA coach Jill Ellis, who welcomed him to the women's game, but was slightly disgruntled at their lack of "etiquette" at sending a scouting party to the England team hotel - not to spy on their opponents, but to see what the place was like and if it was worth staying in should they make the final.
Some, of course, might argue that is basic preparation at this stage of an international competition. But Neville has never been here before - not as a player, and not as a coach. Tuesday night will be a massive test for him.
And for his players, of course. But they have nothing to fear. They played this USA squad - in a less high-pressure environment - back in March, and matched them comfortably, ultimately winning the four-way round-robin SheBelieves Cup. The crowd will be large and noisy - but the fans are likely to be heavily in favour of the Americans. England can go in thinking of themselves as underdogs - battling against the odds.
Megan Rapinoe and the USA team
Image credit: Reuters
Both teams have done what has been required of them so far in the tournament, and will need to step it up on Tuesday night. There have been question-marks around the fitness of some of the American stars, including top scorer Alex Morgan, and England's centre-half pairing Steph Houghton and Millie Bright have taken a battering, particularly after that physical Cameroon match.
Crystal Dunn, once of Chelsea and a fine attacker, has shifted to full back - she may find facing Lucy Bronze and Nikita Parris a real challenge. Megan Rapinoe has been in the spotlight for her sparkling performances on the pitch as well as her fiery words off it, and she has relished the attention; the England midfield, probably with 22-year-old Keira Walsh in the centre, will have to contain her.
Whoever wins this semi-final, though, will go into Sunday's final as firm favourites to win the tournament overall. The USA will be very used to being in that position. For the Lionesses, it could be brand-new ground.
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