England head coach Mark Sampson is hoping that fortune favours the brave in his team’s final match of the She Believes Cup in America tonight.

By Tony Leighton

Sampson has been cursing his side’s luck in their first two matches, a 1-0 defeat by world champions the USA and a 2-1 loss to European champions Germany.

Now comes a meeting in Boca Raton with France, who England have not beaten in 16 attempts since 1974, in what will be their third game in a week.

“Playing three games in such a short space of time is tough,” said Sampson, “but I’m not underestimating our girls’ ability to do that.

“They’ll run through that brick wall – their legs will tell them ‘no,’ but their hearts will tell them ‘yes.’ That’s a great quality of ours.

“We want to do better than we did against the US and Germany, and if we do that and get the rub of the green I’m confident we can beat France.”

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The “rub of the green” Sampson referred to applied in particular to the defeat by Germany in their second game of the four-nation tournament.

England had been the equal of the Americans in their opening match at Tampa Bay but lost out to a fantastic goal by Crystal Dunn.

After then taking the lead against Germany in Nashville through a Toni Duggan header, it was a freak own goal by Gilly Flaherty and a highly dubious penalty awarded against Fara Williams that led to defeat.

Sampson said: “The own goal was one slip in a blue moon, and to concede a goal from a penalty that should never have been was so frustrating.

“It would be nice to get those rub of the green calls, but against the best two teams in the world it was small margins.

“We can take the positives out of both games, and against the third best team in the world we’ll aim to end the tournament on a high.”

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