Women's World Cup: England coach Sampson demands more

By Tony LeightonWomen's football reporter
England Women's football team head coach Mark Sampson
Mark Sampson has overseen a 100% start to England's Women's World Cup qualifying campaign

England will have to raise their performance to beat Ukraine in Thursday's Women's World Cup qualifier, says boss Mark Sampson.

England maintained their 100% qualifying record with a 3-0 group win in Belarus on Saturday and have already beaten Ukraine 4-0 at home in May.

But Ukraine, third in Group Six behind leaders England, thrashed Montenegro 7-0 on Saturday.

"We'll have to go up a level," said Sampson, 31.

"Our passing will have to be crisper, we'll have to be quicker on the counter-attack and sharper in the final third."

"We're expecting a tough encounter."

"A lot of people felt the 4-0 scoreline was harsh on Ukraine when we beat them at Shrewsbury. They were hard to break down and good on the counter," he added.

"So it's going to be a real challenge and we'll have to be better than we were in Belarus on Saturday, even though I felt it was a good quality performance."

Sampson's attacking options will be improved if Manchester City striker Toni Duggan recovers from the ankle injury that forced her out of Saturday's match.

Duggan scored eight goals in the six group games ahead of the trip to Belarus and Sampson said: "We'd certainly like to have Toni available for selection.

"She has shown her capabilities in these group games and we'll be doing everything we can to get her fully fit in time."

Victory in Lviv would clinch England's place at the finals in Canada in 2015external-link if Wales, second in the group, fail to beat Belarus, also on Thursday.

Wins for both home nations would leave Sampson's team needing only one point from their final two games to seal their qualification.

"We're getting closer," added the head coach. "But we can't afford any slip-ups and we'll have to be at our best to get the result we want on Thursday."

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