Euro 2017: England vs France Preview - Can Lionesses make the final four?

Could the Lionesses create more history?

Euro 2017: England vs France Preview - Can Lionesses make the final four?
Could the Lionesses create more history?

In possibly the pick of the quarter-finals, England will face France in their quest for Euro 2017 glory. Will the Les Bleues march on again or will the Lionesses continue creating history?

France's journey so far

Many people thought that, with the group they were in, France would easily win the group but nothing is certain when it comes to the major tournaments.

Iceland looked to repeat the same Euros glory that their male counterparts had the previous year. It looked like they were going to hold France in the biggest upset but it was Eugenie Le Sommer who broke Icelandic hearts in the 86th minute when she converted the penalty. France had just about scraped through with the three points.

Next up, the Austrians. They might have debutants at this tournaments but it didn't seem like it. They were coming off of a 1-0 win against Switzerland and kept the momentum going when Lisa Makas put Austria ahead in the first half. However, in the second, Amandine Henry headed in the equaliser to grab a point.

It came down to the final game. Lose the game and they were looking like they were going out of the Euros. Their worst fears were realised when Ana-Maria Crnogorčević headed the Swiss in front and with the Austrians winning, the French were in for a shock exit. Step up, Camille Abily. She scored a free kick quarter of an hour from time to spare the French and send Switzerland out of the Euros.

England's journey so far

England's group stage however was a bit more certain. The Lionesses faced the auld enemy Scotland. The first game in the Lionesses' history had been against them. It looked to be a close match with the Lionesses edging it but no one could have seen just how the Lionesses ripped Scotland apart in a 6-0 thrashing.

The experience and fitness really showed against a Scotland side who were sadly without key players due to injury.  Jodie Taylor kicked off the scoring. The pass looked to be going to Fran Kirby but she dummied it and took two French players out to free up space to let Taylor run ahead and score. Jodie later became the first ever Lioness to score a hat trick in a major tournament. Ellen White, Jordan Nobbs and Toni Duggan all started off their Euros with goals.

Next up was the toughest group game on paper for the Lionesses. Spain had been England's nemesis at Euro 2013 when they defeated them in the first group stage match. However the Lionesses reversed the result here. They even created yet more history when Fran Kirby calmly slotted the ball into the back of net just two minutes in. That became the fastest goal ever in Euros history. The Lionesses looked to be ahead yet again when Millie Bright scored a brilliant header but she was controversially judged to be offside. Jodie Taylor scored late on however to wrap up the win. Despite letting Spain have the majority of the possession, England were clinical.

With the quarter final against France in mind, Mark Sampson made 10 changes with only Millie Bright appearing in every game so far. They made it difficult for themselves against debutants Portugal. Duggan capitalised on a error by the Portugese goalkeeper and chipped it over into the goal. However, the Portuguese equalised when the Lionesses seemed to have stopped or had a lapse in concentration. Nikita Parris stepped up later on, in her first major tournament, to ensure that 100% record stayed.

Injury/suspension news

England look to be at full strength with Casey Stoney looking set to return after hamstring problems. 

The French however will be without their captain Wendie Renard after she got two yellows in the group stages. They will be without Eve Perisset as well after she was sent off vs Switzerland.

The Lionesses are the form team when it comes to this year's Euros with things stacked against the French. However, the French do have talent in their ranks. So do the Lionesses and seemingly the managers have confidence in their sides after a mini war of words this week.

England haven't beaten the French in 43 years and that would normally be enough for people to write them off. However, this pride of Lionesses is nothing like we've ever seen before and they could create yet more history.

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