England are up against Norway for a spot in the semi-finals of the Women’s World Cup today, and we spoke to Fran Kirby ahead of the clash…
The Blues striker also revealed to the official Chelsea website how England coped with the highly dramatic game against Cameroon and her chances of scoring at France 2019.
England secured their quarter-final place on Sunday when they overcame an ill-tempered Cameroon by beating them 3-0. The match was very stop-and-start as their opponents reacted emotionally to two VAR decisions.
‘It was a very bizarre game to be a part of, but I really enjoyed it – I felt like we played some really good football, I thought we created a lot of chances,’ Kirby said.
‘It was something we just needed to focus on ourselves, in those moments we needed to make sure that we don’t get caught up and overact to it.
‘We’ve spoken a lot about what we would do in those moments and I think we’re using it in the right way, we’re coming together and speaking tactically. That’s how football has become now; we have to adapt to it and be ready for it.’
Kirby has featured in three out of four games so far in the tournament, and despite taking on a deeper role for England, she is as hungry as ever to get her name on the scoresheet.
‘Obviously for me I’m a bit more of a creator at the moment, but I want to make sure that I make my mark on this World Cup and get that goal.
‘I thought it was going to happen against Cameroon but obviously not. I’m creating chances, and that’s the most important thing, I’m not worrying too much about scoring a goal, as long as I’m in the right position and creating for everyone else, then that’s the most important thing,’ she said.
This evening will be the Lionesses’ biggest test yet of the competition. Norway, who are FIFA-ranked 12th, will be seeking redemption after they suffered an agonising 2-1 defeat at the last 16 stage in Canada four years ago.
Their World Cup journey has been impressive thus far and having won 4-1 on penalties against Australia in the knockout stage; they will be confident for this match-up against Phil Neville’s ranked no.3 side.
Kirby, Karen Carney, Millie Bright and Carly Telford will meet their Chelsea team-mates Maren Mjelde and Maria Thorsdottir, plus new signing Guro Reiten, at Le Havre’s Stade Océane.
‘We all watched the Norway game, and we really enjoyed it actually, it was a really exciting game to watch for a neutral. Going to penalties is always exciting but I’m really happy for Maren, Maria and Guro, they played an amazing game, and they are a solid team,’ Kirby said.
‘We respect them so much, everyone was saying how well that they played, especially with the scrutiny with their squad at the moment, but they are rising above it all and pushing forward.’
‘I think it’s going to be a really exciting game and obviously, it’s England versus Norway, not Chelsea versus Chelsea, so we need to keep that in mind.’
‘We are really building on our performances game by game and getting one step closer to hopefully reaching that final – we have to take a game at a time and we have to beat Norway first.'
Today’s last-eight match between Norway and England kicks off at 8.00pm UK time, and coverage is being shown across the BBC.