If you happen to had simply dropped in from area, arrived at Stadium Australia and located a seat at a packed England press convention, you’ll have been forgiven for pondering they had been previewing the mistaken recreation.
Such was the calmness and serenity round Sarina Wiegman and Millie Vivid, the captain, that “we have to play the sport of our lives” was as shut because it received to chest thumping.
There was simply the smallest tinge of emotion when Vivid was requested by Sky Sports activities Information what she may inform her nine-year-old self on the eve of main England out in a World Cup remaining.
“She would have in all probability stated you are fooling around and it wasn’t ever going to occur, however I assume goals come true,” she stated. “I believe it is going to be only a actually proud second.
“As a squad we’re actually pleased with our journey, the event and the way far we have come. We’re lastly getting a shot on the trophy that we’ve all the time needed.”
Amid the “going via the method” and “specializing in our preparations” platitudes, there was an acknowledgement of the enormity of what may play out in Sydney on Sunday, in addition to the affect of the achievement again house.
“As a gaggle we wish to say thanks to the followers again house but in addition to those right here,” stated Vivid. “I believe we’ve felt actually welcomed and actually particular over right here.
“I believe each recreation has been unimaginable. I believe everybody has seen that initially hand.
“Again house we’ve seen the movies and recognize these setting the alarm clocks and making the hassle to assist us, although we’re one million miles aside.
“It’s wonderful what soccer can do and actually deliver everybody collectively, however particularly our nation. Keep on with us yet another recreation.”
With out their Euros-winning captain Leah Williamson, final summer time’s high scorer Beth Mead, playmaker Fran Kirby and the expertise of the retired Jill Scott and Ellen White, the Lionesses arrived in Australia as a little bit of an unknown amount.
The unconvincing Haiti win did little to lift these expectations – then got here the harm drama of Kiera Walsh’s knee, in addition to Lauren James first being catapulted onto the world stage, then seeing pink.
There was the eyebrow-raising change in formation in opposition to China that FIFA’s pre-programmed graphics couldn’t initially address. Even the usually unflappable Wiegman admitted she had by no means had a lot to cope with at a significant event.
That was earlier than the Nigeria recreation despatched the England head coach’s coronary heart fee sky excessive. However England have in some way discovered a approach. They’ve grown as a gaggle via the efficiency in opposition to Colombia after which Australia, in a cauldron of noise with a nation in opposition to them.
“It has been tough however that’s soccer,” stated Vivid, who arrived in Australia having not performed since March as a consequence of a knee harm.
“As a participant you perceive that at any given time, one thing may pop up and issues can change. Soccer is rarely a given.
“It has been an important alternative for different folks to return in and step up and I believe once more we’ve proven how adaptable we’re however we’re actually blessed as a nation that we have such an enormous pool of gamers to selected from and a lot expertise.
“I believe once more that exhibits the expansion within the recreation. However like I stated, it’s all the way down to mentality and the tradition that we’ve within the England arrange. I believe it’s unbelievable.”
When each Vivid and Wiegman had been requested to speak in regards to the qualities of one another, you start to grasp a bit extra as to how this group are actually just one extra evening from a World Cup remaining and people qualities are there to be admired throughout this group.
Speaking about her coach, Vivid stated: “I believe the most important factor is her love for soccer and we as a group are allowed to specific ourselves and we’ve the arrogance to do this.
“We do not concern making errors and, for me, that’s the largest factor. Soccer is such a phenomenal factor however I believe once we play a bit hesitant you do not see the most effective in folks.
“For me, Sarina coming in has given us an actual shift in confidence and enjoying the model that we wish to play. I would wish to assume that every one the followers have seen that and that we have performed a few of our greatest soccer.
“I believe everyone seems to be simply loving each single minute.”
Being their genuine, assured and – in case you are Katie Zelem – big-tune-singing selves. Wiegman has tapped into the characters of the group, has drawn on their particular person experiences and allowed them to enjoying with out concern, with a belief and a togetherness.
By no means one to single out a participant, the England head coach did level to the “energy” and “pragmatism” of her captain earlier than happening to speak in regards to the “different 22 gamers”, which Vivid herself might have discovered extra comfy to take heed to.
When the Australians are stopping you on the street to let you know they are going to be cheering on the Lionesses on Sunday – regardless of England ending the Matildas’ social gathering within the semi-finals – you realize this group of gamers has already accomplished one thing particular.
Ardour, perseverance, resilience – it can not all the time be coached however so typically can show to be the distinction. No marvel the Australians are so impressed with what they’ve seen of the Lionesses – that is the cocktail that has purchased the nation a lot sporting success.
So no matter Spain throw at England on Sunday – and it is going to be harder than something they’ve skilled over the previous couple of weeks – England have what is required of their locker to reply and play “the most effective recreation of our lives.”
Observe Spain vs England on Sunday throughout Sky Sports activities’ digital platforms with our reside weblog and watch the build-up on Sky Sports activities Information – kick-off 11am.