Bronze: England 'more hungry' than other World Cup semi-finalists

Lucy Bronze feels England's desire to win the Women's World Cup is greater than any of the teams remaining in France due to their recent semi-final defeats.

The Lionesses meet the United States in Lyon on Tuesday hoping to go one step further than they did at the 2015 World Cup and at the 2017 European Championship.

Four years ago a surprise run to the semi-finals was ended in cruel fashion when Laura Bassett scored a stoppage-time own goal to send Japan through, while there was more heartbreak two years later in a 3-0 loss to Euros hosts Netherlands.

Phil Neville may have replaced Mark Sampson at the helm but Bronze and many of her team-mates were part of those defeats.

"We're short of that last step," the right-back told a pre-match news conference.

"We've still got that hunger. I said we would have more hunger than all the other teams because we've never reached a final and you look now – [of] the four teams left [England, USA, Netherlands and Sweden], we're the only one that hasn't reached a final. The Olympics, the World Cup, the Euros - these other three teams have reached finals in recent years.

"We've probably got that edge where we are a little more hungry for it, we are maybe more destined.

"It definitely takes more, but who better to know it takes more than a team that have been knocked out in two semi-finals?"

Even from her right-back role, Bronze has been England's key performer in France, having made more touches than anyone else at the tournament so far.

Her stellar showing in the quarter-final win over Norway led Neville to call her "the best player in the world", not that the 27-year-old agrees.

"He said it to me a couple of weeks after taking charge, 'You're the best player in the world'.  I was like, 'No, Phil, I'm really not'. He tells me every day," Bronze revealed.

"It's lovely that he has got so much belief and confidence. I don't see it as pressure because I don't feel like I'm there yet, I'm still striving to be better. I don't think I'll ever get there but I'll try my best."

There will be more support for Neville's view if his right-back excels against the United States' left-sided forward Megan Rapinoe, a star Bronze revealed she once had on a list of players she wanted to play against.

Their latest meeting will come in Bronze's home city after she moved to Lyon in 2017 and won back-to-back Champions Leagues playing alongside the likes of Ballon d'Or winner Ada Hegerberg.

"Going to Lyon completely changed my game for the better," the former Manchester City defender added. 

"The player that I feel I am now is a huge thanks to my development at Lyon."

She has also a stint in the USA on her CV having played at college level with North Carolina - something Bronze believes will give her an edge when she faces the Americans.

"I took a lot from my experiences in America - that American dream, the way they are as people and players, how driven they are – it's definitely something I took from," she said.

"That attitude and mentality they have, I took that and brought it back to this England team. It's worked in our favour."

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