LAURA BASSETT: England are ready to get even better and go all the way at the Women’s World Cup

England are ready to get even better and go all the way… the USA will be a test but we have beaten them before

  • This is the third major tournament in a row England have reached the last four
  • Those experiences will help them in their semi-final against the US on Tuesday
  • England have beaten the Americans before and will be confident of progressing
  • Inspiring the next generation has always been a key target for the Lionesses 
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Yet another major semi-final for the Lionesses, but this time it feels different.

This is the third major tournament in a row in which we have reached the last four – after 2015 and the Euros two years ago. The majority of the squad have been in this situation before and the more times you get there, the more comfortable you are in that uncomfortable situation.

You know what you need to do better, what more you need to get over that finishing line. This side is more ready than ever.

Jill Scott (right) celebrating the opening goal during England's quarter-final win over Norway

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Jill Scott (right) celebrating the opening goal during England’s quarter-final win over Norway

Former England defender Laura Bassett is providing expert analysis for Sportsmail

Former England defender Laura Bassett is providing expert analysis for Sportsmail

Former England defender Laura Bassett is providing expert analysis for Sportsmail

The USA will be a huge test. They are a phenomenal side but we have beaten them before. 

The fact we have played them every year in the SheBelieves Cup means these two teams know each other. That takes away any aura they may have had.

I spoke to Jill Scott, Carly Telford and Karen Carney to tell them how proud I am of them. You can see they are all taking in these moments, sharing them with friends and family who have travelled with them. They are loving every minute.

But there have been no celebrations yet. They know the job is not done. That has been a massive shift in the English mentality. We can celebrate once we have that gold medal around our necks.

Ellen White is in contention for the Golden Boot and her goals will be crucial for England
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Ellen White is in contention for the Golden Boot and her goals will be crucial for England

Ellen White is in contention for the Golden Boot and her goals will be crucial for England

I messaged Ellen White, who has been in superb form. It is so important to have your striker at the top of their game in a major tournament. She won the Golden Boot at the Euros in 2017 and is in the race for it in France. She has been so clinical.

The girls made the win over Norway look easy. They were efficient, ruthless and dominant. I had a couple of days off, so I came back home and watched the game with my mum, dad and seven-month-old daughter. She had fallen asleep on the sofa so I had to try to be quiet.

I am a nightmare to watch the game with. I was much more vocal when I was playing but when I am watching, I am quiet and nervous – thinking all the time.

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I had full faith in them but when you are not out on the pitch, you have no control over it. Even so, I still cannot wait for the semi-final. I want it to be Tuesday already! 

Seeing the coverage and the viewing figures has been incredible. More than six million people watched the victory over Norway. I am just so proud and pleased. We have been banging the drum for so long and now to see it getting the platform we have all worked so hard for is great.

It is a completely different spectacle to the men’s game, but it has been great to watch in its own right. I loved seeing David Beckham at the game with his daughter Harper. We can all relate to that, whether it’s a daughter, a grand-daughter, a sister or a niece. If these girls want to grow up and become a professional, then this has shown them that they can do it. And I know the team are so proud of that, too.

To become an inspiration to the next generation has been a key target for the Lionesses

To become an inspiration to the next generation has been a key target for the Lionesses

To become an inspiration to the next generation has been a key target for the Lionesses

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To become an inspiration to the next generation has been a theme for the Lionesses for many years. They take the responsibility of being a role model very seriously. That is why you will always see them staying for pictures and autographs after matches, whether here at the World Cup or after league games.

If a girl or boy starts playing football because Lucy Bronze has scored a goal, that is just brilliant. As a parent, I cannot wish for more.

England sent my daughter a shirt with my name on the back, which was so lovely to receive. She has been wearing it already. My mum sent me a picture of her with some fruit and veg lined up in a 4-4-2. It’s up to nanny and grandad to turn her into a tactical genius. If she wants to play football when she grows up, I would love it.

Fingers crossed, when the Lionesses go on to win the World Cup, I’ll be able to tell her where she was when they did it. 

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