The Lionesses do not fear any team competing at the Euros, according to their captain, Leah Williamson, after a swashbuckling 8-0 defeat of Norway.
England are guaranteed Group A winners with a game to play, setting up a quarter-final against the Group B runners-up, who will probably be Germany, Spain or Denmark.
“I don’t think we feared anyone coming in [to this tournament]. There’s a lovely quote that I like and it’s: ‘Nobody wins afraid of losing’,” said Williamson, highlighting her love of country music, with that phrase used in the popular Chris Stapleton song Starting Over.
“That’s not the attitude that we have. We go into every game to win it. Of course, the stakes get higher and higher and we wanted to get through the group. We’ve got another game to build on at the back end of the week [against Northern Ireland on Friday]. Hopefully, whatever team we come up against, we’ll know our strengths.”
Against Norway, England were six goals up at half-time and Williamson was at the heart of a defence that kept quiet three of the best forwards in the world, in Ada Hegerberg, Guro Reiten and Caroline Graham Hansen.
“My job was to be a defender and the girls did their job up top,” said Williamson. “It was important to us that we did the same. They are world-class players, all three of them It’s a good performance at both ends of the pitch.”
That defensive stability was built from the front and the dominance and relentless fight of Keira Walsh, Fran Kirby and Georgia Stanway in the middle shielded the backline effectively. “If you look at all of our goals, we are winning it high [up the pitch] and we are going again,” Williamson said. “They have done really well on that and the second balls.”
At half-time, there was disbelief at the scoreline and the swagger of the domination. “It is a shock,” said Williamson, when asked whether they were as stunned in the dressing room. “They are an unbelievable team. It’s not something that you expected to happen, but at the same time we have the job to do.
“It’s nice for everybody to get carried away and enjoy that moment in the stands, but as soon as we went in we set our goals for the second half and made sure we were ready for whatever came our way.”
The manner of the victory will boost the team’s following as they progress. “It helps if you are playing that way and are putting on a show like we did,” Williamson said. “That’s so important. Like I have said before, Sarina [Wiegman] really wants us to engage with the fans when we are here, but also the people at home watching on TV. That’s the type of football, if I turned on my telly that I’d want to watch.”