England women’s manager Mark Sampson compared his team to the men’s sides of 1966 and 1990 after they dumped out fancied hosts Canada 2-1 to reach their first World Cup semi-final.
Early goals from America-based forward Jodie Taylor and Manchester City defender Lucy Bronze gave England an advantage they doggedly clung on to despite Christine Sinclair pulling one back for Canada.
The Lionesses, who had never won a knockout match at the competition before beating Norway in the last 16, now face defending champions Japan on Wednesday for a place in the final.
They have already equalled the progress of Sir Bobby Robson’s Paul Gascoigne-inspired team at the 1990 World Cup and still hope to emulate Sir Alf Ramsey’s iconic 1966 winners.
“To get a result in that atmosphere against an excellent Canadian team is an incredible performance,” said Sampson.
“They’re history makers again; only the third ever England team to get to a semi-final. We’ve now joined that ‘66 and 1990 club. I was very, very proud of the whole group.”
Should they successfully negotiate the last-four clash against Japan in Edmonton, England stand to meet one of the two pre-competition favourites in the United States or Germany in Sunday’s final.
They could be without first-choice goalkeeper Karen Bardsley, who erred to gift Sinclair her goal but then had to replaced early in the second half when an allergic reaction caused her left eye to close.