Stuart Pearce delivers rousing message to Lionesses at Women's World Cup

1131     0
Peace, 61, sees parallels between the current Lionesses side and the class of Euro 96
Peace, 61, sees parallels between the current Lionesses side and the class of Euro 96

Stuart Pearce has challenged the Lionesses to channel the spirit of England at Euro 96 after roaring into form at the perfect time of the Women's World Cup.

Sarina Wiegman's European champions started the tournament timidly with unconvincing victories over Haiti and Denmark before blasting six past China in a sizzling Adelaide display.

England men's legend Peace, 61, sees parallels between the current Lionesses side and the class of Euro 96, who took until the final group game against the Netherlands to finally find their stride with a devastating 4-1 demolition.

Pearce believes the freedom Wiegman's side showed against China, coupled with their experience of winning a major tournament, makes them a dangerous proposition as the competition reaches the knockout stages and ahead of their last 16 clash with Nigeria.

Stuart Pearce delivers rousing message to Lionesses at Women's World Cup rriddqixxiqezinvADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 01: Lauren James of England celebrates with team mates Rachel Daly, Jessica Carter and Lucy Bronze during the FIFA Women's World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 Group D match between China and England at Hindmarsh Stadium on August 1, 2023 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Joe Prior/Visionhaus via Getty Images)

“There’s no doubt that one or two question marks were raised after the first game by individuals about the performances, so it’s a great statement to put down,” said Pearce.

Earps reacts to FIFA Best nomination and on season so far with Man UtdEarps reacts to FIFA Best nomination and on season so far with Man Utd

“Sometimes you have to get into the swing of tournament football, it’s not easy to go and put a marker down in the first game.

“The important thing in the first game is three points, if you win the first two it takes a lot of pressure off, and then you play with more freedom.

“That’s what we saw in England expressing themselves and that’s a confidence they’ll take into the knockout stages and knowing full well they know what it’s like to pick up a trophy."

England reached the semi-finals back in 1996 and former left-back Pearce added: “Beating the Netherlands gave us great confidence, but that confidence also came from the game before, when we beat the Scots.

“All of a sudden we had one foot in the knockout stages and you can’t believe how much pressure that took off the group and enabled the team to play a brand of football that was probably the best I’ve ever been involved in.”

Only Japan and Sweden can rival England for collecting maximum points from the group stages of the Women’s World Cup.

Lauren James has been the star of the current England cast, responding with three goals and three assists after being left out of the Group D opener against Haiti.

Stuart Pearce delivers rousing message to Lionesses at Women's World Cup (Naomi Baker - The FA/The FA via Getty Images)

For the first time in her reign, boss Wiegman has shown a willingness to make changes between matches, but Pearce reckons James has established herself as an indispensable force.

“The other squad members know her worth, they know she is an outstanding two-footed player with a great eye for a goal,” said Pearce, who was speaking from Ascot United FC as an official ambassador of Pitching In.

“I saw it myself with David Platt, when you come in mid-World Cup you can leave as a completely different player to the one that arrived.

Man Utd boss Skinner sends firm message to Arsenal over Russo contract sagaMan Utd boss Skinner sends firm message to Arsenal over Russo contract saga

“He had an eye for a goal and Lauren is probably a similar type of player, goals win games and three goals in the group stages is a fantastic tally.

“She’s probably said to the manager, 'I’m one of your starters now and you can’t leave me out.' That’s how you evolve in tournament football and it might just be her World Cup.”

Ladbrokes, with the support of its owner Entain, has launched a multi-million-pound investment programme, Pitching In, designed to support and promote grassroots sports. For more details see: https://entaingroup.com/sustainability/pitching-in/

NEW! Our Year: European Champions 2022 - The Official England Winners Book

With a foreword by England manager Sarina Wiegman, this is the only official book of the historic triumph, reliving every kick of a thrilling tournament and telling the stories of the players who made it all happen.

Order from https://reachsportshop.com/book/our-year-european-champion-2022/

Ben Hart

Print page

Comments:

comments powered by Disqus