Women's World Cup: Phil Neville says England can reach the final
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Last Updated: 23/05/19 6:33pm
Phil Neville believes he is managing the "best prepared" England Women's team ever and are capable of at least reaching the World Cup final.
Neville has announced his squad for the 2019 edition as the Lionesses look to reach their first World Cup final and kick off their campaign against Scotland on June 9.
Two years ago, England were knocked out in the semi-finals of Euro 2017 by tournament hosts and eventual winners, the Netherlands. Four years ago, England finished the World Cup in Canada in third.
The 23 Lionesses heading to France
Goalkeepers: Karen Bardsley (Man City), Mary Earps (Wolfsburg), Carly Telford (Chelsea)
Defenders: Steph Houghton (Man City, captain), Lucy Bronze (Lyon), Demi Stokes (Man City), Rachel Daly (Houston Dash), Alex Greenwood (Man Utd), Millie Bright (Chelsea), Leah Williamson (Arsenal), Abbie McManus (Man City)
Midfielders: Jade Moore (Reading), Keira Walsh (Man City), Jill Scott (Man City), Karen Carney (Chelsea), Georgia Stanway (Man City), Lucy Staniforth (Birmingham City)
Forwards: Toni Duggan (Barcelona), Ellen White (Birmingham), Fran Kirby (Chelsea), Nikita Parris (Man City)
Momentum is growing as England lifted the SheBelieves Cup in the USA earlier this year, beating Japan and Brazil en route to winning the tournament for the first time.
Neville says his squad have the goal to more than simply compete with the world's best ahead of the 24-team showpiece event.
"When I took over 16 months ago, we spoke openly about our ambitions," he told Sky Sports News at England's open media day at St George's Park.
"They said they wanted to challenge to win a World Cup and go one step further than the semi-final. We've made a semi-final in the Euros and we've made a semi in the World Cup. Now we want to make that next step.
"The biggest thing [about winning the SheBelieves Cup] was to stand on that platform in the end with the winners' trophy.
We've made a semi-final in the Euros and we've made a semi in the World Cup. Now we want to make that next step.
"To celebrate as winners with the USA, Brazil and Japan watching... that was the most important thing because that success keeps breeding people to want it more.
"We beat Japan, we beat Brazil, and we drew against USA.
"The confidence of being in a big tournament was great practice for what we're going to experience in 20 days' time when we go against Scotland, Argentina and Japan.
"It's going to be a similarly tight situation with not much time between games and we're going to have to utilise the whole squad."
Neville, who took over the England national team in January 2018 and has won nine of his 15 games in charge, believes they have sufficient depth to have a deep run.
He added: "Are we going to bring it home? We're going to do our best. We're probably the best prepared England senior women's team that's ever gone to a major tournament.
"The backing by the FA they have given me and my players is fantastic.
"We will enjoy ourselves and play a brand of football that we've developed over the last 16 months and we're going to give it a right good go."
'We now have a winning mentality'
Captain Steph Houghton: "I feel over the last four years that we've really developed that winning mentality. You looked at SheBelieves and the only objective was to win and bring a trophy home.
"It's the same for this World Cup. You want to win and play well by doing that. Ultimately if it means three points in the group stages and we get through the knockout rounds that's all that matters."
England's Group D matches
|June 9||Scotland||Allianz Riviera (Nice)||5pm|
|June 14||Argentina||Stade Oceane (Le Havre)||8pm|
|June 19||Japan||Allianz Riviera (Nice)||8pm|
Lucy Staniforth: "For Alan Shearer to announce me [into the squad] is what dreams are made of.
"I've had experience at youth age groups, but as you grow up you have that dream and you work hard for it. For it to become reality I'm totally in awe of the situation and it is so exciting.
Jodie Taylor: "We're all in awe of how much media attention there is surrounding the Lionesses and the World Cup coming up. It is so nice to be on this journey to see the increase of attention that the game is getting. It is so exciting.
"To see the game get so much attention spurs us on and that level of expectation will really help us. I 100 per cent believe it is going to help us in France."
Toni Duggan: "We've got that winning mentality now. The past two major tournaments we've been to we got to the semi-finals and I believe this year we can go one better.
"It's going to be hard work [winning the golden boot] but as long as we win the trophy I don't care."
Lucy Bronze: "The goal is for the gold. The goal is to make the final. I don't see why we can't make it. I'm still on a high from a successful club domestic year. I want to carry that on and keep winning trophies.
"We've got a really talented group of young players. My age group is the hard working ones but now we've got this group of players who are really confident. They've got the ability.
"They want to win the World Cup and they're not scared of anything. They play for top teams, they've won trophies already. I think some of the younger players could be the ones making the difference for us next month."
The knockout schedule
Each group-stage city will host one last-16 or quarter-final match, before Lyon takes centre stage for the semi-finals and final.
The third-place play-off takes place at Nice's Allianz Riviera.
The knockouts will run from June 22 to July 7:
Round of 16
June 22: 1B v 3A/C/D, Grenoble - 2A v 2C, Nice
June 23: 1D v 3B/E/F, Valenciennes - 1A v 3C/D/E, Le Havre
June 24: 2B v 1F, Reims - 2F v 2E, Paris
June 25: 1C v 3A/B/F, Montpellier - 1E v 2D, Rennes
June 27: Le Havre
June 28: Paris
June 29: Valenciennes and Rennes
July 2 and 3: Lyon
Third place play-off
July 6: Nice
July 7: Lyon
UEFA published a match schedule which can be viewed here.