England Women’s captain Millie Bright has said she wants to emulate former England Men’s star John Terry as her Lionesses side get set to take on Nigeria this morning in the last 16 of the Fifa Women’s World Cup.
The Lionesses topped their pool and have been rewarded with a knockout tie against African side Nigeria, who finished ahead of Canada to reach the last 16.
And the Chelsea defender – who inherited the vice-captain armband from the injured Leah Williamson for this tournament – says she wants to follow in the “fearless” leadership of fellow Blues player John Terry.
Lioness Bright on Terry
“JT was a big one for me. I think the way he carried himself and he always stepped out on the pitch, fearless,” she said yesterday.
“Every team that he’s played in I think he’s done that and he’s led by example, his actions have spoken louder than his words. For me that’s definitely something I believe in as well.
“Off the pitch I think he’s a great human, he’s very caring. I know a lot from a personal level that he’s always given a lot to the women’s team. On the pitch, without a shadow of a doubt.”
A win for England would see them take on either Colombia or Jamaica on Saturday before a potential semi-final against France next Wednesday.
The draw has really opened up for the Lionesses, with the United States the latest side after Brazil and Germany to crash out of the tournament.
It means England are now the second highest ranked side left in the tournament having started the World Cup fourth – only Sweden are ahead of them.
Nigeria’s head coach Randy Waldrum said yesterday ahead of this morning’s clash in Brisbane that: “[Sarina Wiegman] has done a fantastic job with England, since she took over you can see the progression of the team.
“When I look at a coach and try to analyse, if I don’t know them personally, you look at the team and tell if they have an idea.
“In their organisation, they look like they have a plan [and] a way they want to play.”
England confirmed the return of Keira Walsh to training at the weekend despite the Barcelona midfielder injuring herself against Denmark in the group stages.
It is uncertain whether the 26-year-old will make an appearance this morning or be held back until the quarter-finals, should England make it, but her fitness status will be of a relief to the Lionesses.
England’s path is opening up, but Nigeria will be stiff opposition. And as the United States proved yesterday, reputation means nothing when push comes to shove.