More than five months after winning World Cup bronze, England’s women footballers will finally take a bow in front of their own fans on Sunday afternoon.
Fixture issues mean Mark Sampson and his players have not been able to take the acclaim of home supporters until Sunday’s Euro 2017 qualifier against Bosnia & Herzegovina at Bristol City’s Ashton Gate.
A crowd of more than 12,000 is expected to welcome the Lionesses and enjoy what ought to be a comfortable victory.
England are in good heart having proved, by holding Germany to a goalless draw in Duisburg on Thursday, that the summer’s third-place play-off victory over the European Champions was no fluke.
Jodie Taylor, who worked tirelessly as the first line of defence in the Ruhr, a shot at goal, is hoping for a more fruitful afternoon.
“It’ll be a very different game and, hopefully, I can get my name on the scoresheet, but I loved the challenge of facing arguably the best team in the world,” said Taylor.
A latecomer at international level, having never been selected by Hope Powell, Taylor, 29, has scored five goals in eight starts under Sampson, including a memorable strike in the World Cup quarter-final against Canada.
That performance was all the more impressive as Taylor was not long back from knee surgery.
“I was never fit at the World Cup,” she said. “But I was so focused on getting there. I was cleared to play only 10 minutes in the last group stage match, then 30 minutes against Norway. Then it was, ‘fuck it, let’s go for it’.
“I shouldn’t have played. It meant missing most of the rest of the club season, but I’ve no regrets.”
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