England Women manager Phil Neville has heaped praise on his players after their convincing 3-0 victory over Norway in the World Cup quarter-finals, hailing them as 'ruthless' and 'badass' ahead of their second successive semi-final.
In a game that was expected to represent their toughest test yet in France, the Lionesses ran riot, with goals from Jill Scott, Ellen White and a screamer from Lucy Bronze enough to seal a comfortable victory that made a clear statement about their intentions to go all the way.
“12 months ago we set out our objectives,” said Neville, via the Guardian. “All I wanted my players to say was that they wanted to win the World Cup but they said they wanted more, to create a name people would relate to, badass women.
"They were thinking bigger and that really knocked me out of my stride. I think we’re getting to that legacy moment.
“I thought the difference tonight was we were more ruthless than before. But I’ve got the best job ever. You can be the best coach ever but if you haven’t got players with attitude and determination then you’re dead.
"I work with an astonishing group of people who astonish me and astound me every day. I just want to win a World Cup.”
Particularly impressive was the attractive brand of football on show from Neville's side, and while it perhaps wasn't as revolutionary as he suggested in the post-match excitement, it bodes well for their prospects moving forward.
“We’re playing a type of football that no one’s ever played before. I think that will get us through the semi. I’m not getting carried away but I said to them in the huddle: are you ready to win the World Cup?" he added, evidently getting carried away.
"They have glazed eyes. Something is happening, we can’t hide that. We can’t wait until Tuesday. I was brought in to get us through a semi-final."
The Lionesses will face either France or the USA - the two favourites to win the tournament - on Tuesday, but if they can turn out another performance like the one against Norway, then they will be in with more than a puncher's chance of reaching their first ever WWC final.