ENGLAND Women are just one win away from progressing to the final of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada and Birmingham City Ladies midfielder Jade Moore is revelling in playing her part in the national side’s historic journey on the biggest stage.
Mark Sampson’s side knocked out hosts Canada 2-1 in the last eight to book their place in the semi-final against holders Japan on Thursday morning.
It has already been a remarkable journey for England, who before the tournament had not made it past the group stage of any previous World Cup, and they are now being compared to the men’s 1966 World Cup-winning side.
Twenty-four-year-old Moore, who came on as a substitute during the first group match defeat against France, but has started every game since, has been a key part of the adventure and she spoke exclusively to women’s football writer Tony Leighton for the Redditch Standard and Solihull Observer ahead of Thursday’s showdown.
After seeing off the host nation in front of a partisan crowd, an emotional Moore said: “We enjoyed that win. It was a tough game in the end but I’m proud of all of the girls and really happy that we got the result we wanted.
“I’m proud of the team, everyone did exactly what was asked of them. We had individual jobs to do, it was loud in there so we knew we couldn’t hear each other, that didn’t help.
“The crowd were brilliant. Credit to Canada, they gave us a really good game – a tough game – made us go right down to the wire, but we hung in there.”
England were seen as underdogs heading into the Canada game, with the hosts being backed by over 50,000 home supporters.
However, Moore revealed England had done their research heading into the match and every player knew their role, which was key to the victory.
“We’ve watched Canada in this World Cup and seen that they put their bodies about, that’s what they do and they’re a technical and high press team and they want to throw their weight around.
“The thing with us, with English football, is we can do exactly the same and match that.
“We’ve got that in our locker and that’s exactly what we did. We went out there and matched them physically and beat them up a little bit at times.
“We were playing in the block, me and Fara (Williams), Jill (Scott) came back so my job didn’t change, I kept doing what I’d been asked to do from minute one and that just continued.
“Stay tight, lock everything in and put your hands together and pray that the final whistle comes sooner rather than later.”
Asked if she felt intimidated by the large home support, Moore replied: “No, but by about 60 minutes you could start to feel the tension that was rising, that they knew that their World Cup dream might be over and I think, for us, that was something we wanted.
“When you start to feel that as a player you know you’re on top. So, in the end, it was a motivator rather than a demotivator.”
England had to spend much of the second half soaking up Canadian pressure and successfully kept the scoreline at 2-1 to progress and Moore admits it was hard playing with their backs against the wall for such a long period, but she is delighted to be representing her country in a World Cup semi-final.
“She added: “You’ve just got to dig deep and hope for the best and that’s exactly what we did.
“As long as everyone kept doing their individual roles, as they were asked, dug deep and just kept putting the balls in the right areas, they can’t hurt you.
“We had a few nervy moments near the end. (Sophie) Schmidt had that chance that went over the bar, that was an unnerving moment, but we knew deep down that we were going to win this game. We knew it from minute one, if we got these into the quarter-finals, we’d have them.
“Everyone’s buzzing. Elated, is probably the feeling. We are here to do a job, we’re not getting too high. We’re just enjoying this moment right now and we go again.”