England Women’s bid to be crowned European champions suffered a blow yesterday when goalkeeper Karen Bardsley was ruled out of the tournament’s latter stages with a broken leg.
Bardsley incurred the fractured fibula during the Lionesses’ quarter-final victory over France on Sunday but continued playing for 14 minutes against Les Bleus before being substituted.
It had been hoped that the 32-year-old Manchester City stopper would be fit to play some part in the rest of England’s European Championship campaign although a medical assessment has put paid to those plans.
England are now set to turn to Liverpool’s Siobhan Chamberlain, who replaced Bardsley in their last-eight tussle, for tomorrow’s semi-final showdown with Holland in Enschede.
Bardsley’s absence means England boss Mark Sampson will be forced into at least two changes with midfielder Jill Scott also missing through suspension after picking up her second yellow card of the competition against France.
Sampson, meanwhile, insists that his side are prepared for any eventuality – including a dreaded penalty shootout – as they bid to secure their maiden European Championship title in the coming days.
“From our point of view you want to get the job done in 90 minutes. If not 90, then 120,” said Sampson.
“But the players have prepared for every scenario. They’re clear on their penalty process and they’ve done what they need to do to feel confident should that moment come.
“This team feels like we’re ready for anything that can be thrown at us and we can find a way to get the result we want. If that is penalties, so be it. Whatever it takes to get in this final we’re willing to get it done.
“We have worked hard to make sure we’re going to be at our best when that moment comes.”