England manager Mark Sampson believes his side’s historic victory over Norway in the last 16 of the Women’s World Cup has rebuffed years of derision aimed at the female game.
Read more: Sampson hails England after reaching last 16
Manchester City full-back Lucy Bronze lashed home a stunning late winner as England dispatched their Scandinavian rivals 2-1 in Ottawa to set up a quarter-final clash with hosts Canada on Saturday.
England have reached the last eight before but victory over Norway represented their first ever success in a knockout match at a World Cup, with this year’s tournament containing an extra round having been expanded to 24 teams.
The Lionesses have never progressed further than the quarter-final at the World Cup, and Sampson insists his current crop of players are on course to considerably enhance the reputation of women’s football.
“The women’s football community has taken some flak,” said Sampson.
“We’ve had to go through some tough times, we’ve had a lot of doubters and a lot of haters in the past but we’ve stayed on task and we’ve stuck together.
“The team is determined to keep inspiring the next generation.”
England lost their last encounter with Canada, a friendly in May, but were victorious in the past two competitive fixtures, winning 1-0 in the Cyprus Cup final in March.