Lionesses match-winner Nikita Parris says she's 'absorbing everything' of Euro 2017

Italy's early departure is the ultimate illustration of the fine lines that define football: desperately unfortunate victims of a disallowed goal, a wonderful and the crossbar against Russian Federation, and eliminated with a game still remaining thanks to a German penalty in their second game.

I know they were playing Germany, but giving away two such stupid, obvious and needless penalties, and managing just three shots - none of them on target - is just woeful. People are telling me we are the favourites to beat France on Sunday. But luckily for them the game is not played in the press room.

"I'm very proud of the work this group of staff and the players have done over the last two years and how much this team has grown".

"The more experienced players, they've helped me throughout this job so I'm so thankful to have their experience because that's invaluable".

Duggan made a similar point, saying on Channel 4: "When you get to the latter rounds you're going to face tougher and tougher opposition".

With that in mind, it has been suggested Sampson could make changes against Portugal, who are the lowest-ranked team remaining at the tournament in Holland.

Portugal had gone into the game with three points having lost to Spain but then won 2-1 against Scotland on Sunday.

The Lionesses beat Scotland 6-0 before recording a 2-0 victory against Spain in the first two group games.

First Portugal's goalkeeper had miscued what should have been a routine clearance, scuffing the ball straight to Barcelona's new striker.

Mendes nipped between two defenders to stab home a Diana Silva cross.

Morais had to be consoled by a team-mate as she stood on the goal line in tears.

At least that is how it felt until the previously anonymous Parris restored a newly focused England's lead - along with a little of the Welshman's good humour - at the start of the second half.

It was the first goal conceded by England in the tournament.

The goal had lifted the Portuguese and for a spell they were in control.

The Lionesses came out of the blocks firing in the second half and got themselves back in front thanks to Parris.

Sampson's team then had few problems, though in stoppage time keeper Siobhan Chamberlain had to save a Laura Luis volley.

England's coach, Mark Sampson, has defended his claim that his France counterpart, Olivier Echouafni, is "wet behind the ears" before a potentially fractious Euro 2017 quarter-final between their teams here on Sunday night.

Vanessa Coleman

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