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The Lionesses roar with confidence but are rooted in reality ahead of the knockout stages.

“Listening to the hype is the biggest mistake we can make.” – Kay Cossington.

The Football Debate talks to Kay Cossington, the England Women’s Technical Director ahead of the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Expectations lay heavy as the Lionesses head into their first knockout game against Nigeria, with their recent European Championships medal weighing heavy, leaving “targets on our backs,” according to Kay Cossington.

Defining success at the World Cup was the first thing we wanted to get to the bottom of.

“Success for us is that we play to our full potential and continue to inspire our nation. We need to plan and prepare as effectively as we can and perform at our optimum.

“We need to keep the momentum of women’s football developing across the world going.

“How do we capture the hearts and minds of those at home with a 9-hour time difference?

Of course, we want a trophy, but that doesn’t just define success as simply as that.

“If we inspire a nation, play to our best, prepare to the best of our ability, but sport takes over and we exit the tournament – is that a failure?

“We are obsessed with results, which of course is important in this industry, but it doesn’t solely define us.”

It’s an exciting time for the national team, who have great talent coming through and a continued increase in participation within the sport, which could push them all the way in the World Cup.

“Along with many other countries we have a chance in Australia, I feel confident that we are in a good position with our preparation going into the tournament, so we’ll see what happens”.

“We have targets on our backs now after the Euros. Listening to the hype will be the biggest mistake we can make.”

It’s not talent alone that wins you tournaments, it’s heart, desire and leadership that guides you through it. Sarina Wiegman is a perfect example of this, there was outstanding leadership both on and off the pitch throughout the European Championships.

Jill Scott and Ellen White have retired since then, and with influential players such as Lucy Bronze and Rachel Daly probably playing their final World Cup, will some of the senior leadership be missed?

“In all our England teams we have a leadership group, where there are 4-5 players that form a bridge with the coach from the player pool.

“That’s where good senior leadership comes from. We talk a lot about the future, and if we look at that picture (lifting the European Championship trophy) in 10 years’ time, who do we think will be up there?

“We don’t wait for people to retire; we prepare people to fill in their shoes. You can’t cheat experience.”

It was only fitting to try and get a prediction on the outcome of the World Cup…

“Absolutely not!” Cossington chuckled.


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