Who do you think is the most successful coach in English football in recent times? Actually its a young Welshman by the name of Mark Sampson, coach of the Three Lionesses who were bronze medallists at the last FIFA Women's World Cup 2015 in Canada.
Yesterday in Tilburg against Portugal he made 10 changes from the team that had beaten Scotland 6-0 and Spain 2-0 in Group D to play against the 16th ranked country in the UEFA Womens 2017 Championships in The Netherlands. Despite going ahead after only minutes when Portugal's goalkeeper cleared the ball straight to Tony Duggan who scored the opener, it was a very shakey first 45 minutes. Duggan has just joined Barcelona, but is not guaranteed a starting role in Sampson's plans.
The Portuguese equalised before the half, which would have given them second spot in the group, but a winner from Nikita Parris of Manchester City settled the issue and led to a better second half team display. "We have so much momentum in this tournament. I didn't know what to do, so I ran straight to my mum".
Their next opponebts in the quarter final in Deventer on Sunday evening are one of the tournaments favourites France, ranked 3rd in the FIFA World rankings, two ahead of England. However, in Group C they narrowly beat Iceland and tied with Switzerland and Austria and advance as group runners up. Sampson has won of 10 matches in recent tournaments, but France have not been beaten by the English since 1974 and Les Blues won 2-1 in the recent SheBelieves Cup in the United Staes in March.
French coach Olivier Echouefni claimed that England would not want to play France. Sampson replied " He is wet behiind the ears. Only 1 win so far to our 3. We are an experienced team and I am an experienced manager."