The nation gears up to roar on England Lionesses in their bid for World Cup glory

The England Lionesses prepare for the biggest game of their careers against the USA tonight.
The England Lionesses prepare for the biggest game of their careers against the USA tonight.

World Cup fever will be gripping the nation tonight as we roar on the England Lionesses in their bid to win the World Cup

England face tournament favourites USA in the semi-final knowing victory would make them the first senior England team to reach a major global final since 1966.

And boss Phil Neville admits that if England are to keep their dream alive, they will have to beat the best in the business,

"We've planned for it, we've played against them and we know how we're going to play," Neville told BBC Sport.

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"When it was France or USA in the semi-final every one of my players said: 'Let's hope it's USA.'

"You have to beat the best, and the USA are the best. They've proven it.

"But we're ready for them. Sometimes, before these games, you can have fear and trepidation - but I can smell nothing but freedom, happiness and excitement."

The Lionesses have reached the last four for the second World Cup - and a third major tournament - in a row and have a fully fit squad.

But, while the nation hopes, the bookmakers believe and England national team is heading for an all too familiar semi-final defeat.

USA have been odds-on favourites from the start of the tournament and they have looked very strong on their way to the last four – which included beating hosts France in the last eight.

Bookmakers are reporting huge amounts coming for the Lionesses – but they remain 16/5 to win on Tuesday in Lyon and are currently 4/1 to lift the trophy.

However, should England win – then they are favourites to take the title ahead of the Netherlands and Sweden who face each other in the other semi-final.

OddsMonkey spokesman Peter Watton said: “England have a tough task on their hands, but this is almost like their final as if they do defeat the odds and win, then they are are firm favourites to go on and take the title.

“USA are a short price to win the game at 5/6, but Bookmakers are fearing England at 16/5 – this is the biggest women’s match in betting history and the vast majority is coming for Phil Neville’s side.

“Gareth Southgate’s men fell at the semi-final stage last summer, but the nation are hoping Lionesses can become England’s first senior world champions since 1966.”