Jodie Taylor remembers England Women‘s last clash with Canada as an “incredible” occasion – and feels how the Lionesses have grown since then is “super exciting”.
The meeting in 2015 saw Taylor score the opener as England moved into their first ever Women’s World Cup semi-final with a 2-1 victory over the tournament hosts in Vancouver.
They subsequently finished third, then reached the semi-finals of Euro 2017 in Holland, with Taylor claiming the Golden Boot.
In the build-up to this summer’s World Cup in France, England – under Phil Neville after he succeeded Mark Sampson as boss last year – have won the invitational SheBelieves Cup for the first time.
As their preparations continue, they face Canada once again on Friday in Manchester, the first of four warm-up matches between now and the World Cup.
Reflecting on the 2015 match, Taylor said: “I remember it like it was just yesterday. I would have to say it’s one of my favourite games of all time.
“Just everything about it. BC Place was unbelievable, filling the whole stadium with mainly Canadian fans, and just the nature of the game, it being a quarter-final. The pressure of England having never got beyond a quarter-final (at a World Cup).
“It was the nature of how we won it, playing there and Canada being the host nation. It was incredible.
“I’ll tell you one of my favourite moments was scoring. It absolutely silenced the crowd. It was unreal. Then when we were 2-0 up they scored a goal and the whole place just erupted. It just shook and it was just insane.
“Just to win that game – it was ‘wow’.”
The 32-year-old, who plays for Reign FC in the United States, had suffered a knee injury not long before the tournament in Canada.
And she added: “It’s crazy to think I managed to play the whole 90 minutes in Vancouver. I was having to play catch-up with my knee.
“I didn’t know if I’d be selected for the World Cup, I was selected but even then I had no idea until about halfway through if I’d even be able to play.
“Now I’m fully fit so to stay fully fit and healthy is obviously the goal for the next couple of months.
“It’s exciting times to think, looking back from that World Cup to this one, how far we’ve come as a team, how we’ve really grown. It really is super exciting. I really can’t wait.”
Forward Beth Mead thinks it is “a really exciting time for not only England, for women’s football just in general” and says the summer’s showpiece in France is “going to be the most exciting tournament that we’ve had so far”.
The 23-year-old Arsenal player, who made her senior England debut a year ago, scored twice during the victorious SheBelieves Cup campaign, in wins over Brazil and Japan that came either side of a draw with hosts the United States.
Mead said of that tournament: “We went there with an expectation to win, we put that pressure on ourselves, and we delivered.
“I think that was key for us – to know throughout the tournament, yes there is going to be things that happen and little distractions, but we are focused within what we want to do, who we are and what we represent as a team, as an outfit.
“And that will be how we’ll move forward, and hopefully it works for us again in a World Cup.”