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06 October 2022

Beth Mead says England want to show their improvement since USA World Cup loss

06 October 2022

Beth Mead says England are hungry to avenge their World Cup heartbreak suffered at the hands of the United States during Friday’s sold-out Wembley showdown.

The Lionesses’ dreams of glory at the 2019 tournament in France were extinguished by an agonising 2-1 semi-final loss to the eventual winners.

England responded to that setback to become European champions in the summer and will now seek to lay down a marker against the world’s top-ranked team with the start of the 2023 World Cup just nine months away.

Euro 2022 golden boot winner Mead, who on Thursday was named England Women’s Player of the Year, believes the hosts will be spurred on by past disappointment.

“It was obviously a tough game, a tough result to take,” she said of the narrow loss in Lyon.

“We took it hard but looking at it now, it’s made us more hungry and motivated to prove ourselves against a world-class American team.

“We’re looking forward to the challenge to see where we are and hopefully we can put on a good performance.”

England will return to the national stadium for the first time since an unforgettable 2-1 extra-time victory over Germany secured the European crown at the end of July.

Meanwhile, Mead – who scored six times in that tournament – will be back in action following a controversial concussion incident at club level last week.

The 27-year-old was forced off after a clash of heads during Arsenal’s Champions League win away to Ajax but could not be replaced.

She has called on UEFA to consider introducing concussions substitutes following the “scary situation”.

“Obviously I’m fine now,” said Mead. “I’ve done all of the protocols, I’m back in training.

“At the time, a bit of a scary situation but I thought the club did amazing with me and did the right thing, took me off the pitch.

“But unfortunately there wasn’t a concussion sub in place through UEFA and with such a serious injury, I think it’s a little bit disappointing that that’s not in place at the moment and something that they maybe need to look at.”

England are yet to taste defeat under head coach Sarina Wiegman.

The Dutchwoman believes European teams are closing the gap to the US and feels the tough assignment is crucial for the Lionesses’ development.

“It’s a very big game,” she said. “We did the review of the Euros, now we have this very good moment to see where we are.

“I think the European game has improved so much that we’re coming closer and closer. We’d like to show that tomorrow of course.

“We hope we can dominate the game, that’s what we want to do.

“You need the best opponents in front of you because then you have to perform at the highest level and that gives you the best information.

“We can play lower-ranked teams and play really well and score a lot of goals but that doesn’t give you the picture that you need to prepare for the World Cup.”

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