Women's World Cup: England do not fear Japan, says Lucy Bronze

England
Lucy Bronze has scored two goals in England's last two games
Women's World Cup semi-final: Japan v England
Date: Thursday, 2 July. Kick-off: 00:00 BST. Coverage: Live on BBC One, BBC Radio 5 live and BBC Sport website

England have no fears about facing reigning world champions Japan in their semi-final on Thursday, says defender Lucy Bronze.

The Lionesses reached the last four for the first time in their history with a quarter-final victory over hosts Canada on Saturday.

Bronze, who scored in the 2-1 win, said: "Japan are the favourites, we know that, but we're confident.

"We know how we can beat them. England are going all the way!"

England players have been inundated with messages of support since their win against Canada in Vancouver, which was watched by 1.6m people on BBC television despite a UK kick-off time of 00:30 BST.

Former England captain David Beckham and current men's skipper Wayne Rooney were among those to congratulate the team on becoming the first England side to reach the World Cup semi-finals since 1990.

And the Duke of Cambridge, who is the president of the Football Association, said: "This team is making history and I can't wait to see them in action against Japan.

"I know a lot of people have been following the team's progress, and I'm sure many more will now seize the chance to support this great moment for English football. The Lionesses are doing their country proud."

Should they reach the final, it would be the first time an England team has done so since the men's side won the World Cup in 1966.

England defender Casey Stoney, who has 121 caps and is enjoying her third World Cup, summed up the jubilant mood in the camp by saying: "It's the best feeling I've ever felt in my career. Incredible.

"I know some of the girls have just recently come into the squad but for the likes of myself, [and senior players] Fara Williams and Katie Chapman, I'm beyond words.

"I just know how hard I've worked, personally, and I know that everyone else on their journey has worked so hard and made so many sacrifices. It's all worth it now."

England, who beat Japan in the group stage of the 2011 World Cup before the Japanese went on to lift the trophy, will play the Nadeshiko in Edmonton live on BBC One and the BBC Sport website, with the game kicking-off at 00:00 BST on Thursday morning.

Manchester City defender Bronze, 23, who is England's joint-top scorer at the World Cup with two goals, made her England debut against Japan in a friendly in 2013.

And she hopes she can continue her scoring run after also hitting the winner in the last-16 game against Norway.

"They're the reigning world champions and that's a big deal," Bronze added.

"But for us to play one of the great teams at a World Cup is exciting. We've come across Norway, a hard European team, a couple of South American teams and now the home nation. Japan will be a different challenge again, but we're looking forward to it."

England boss Mark Sampson added: "Japan are probably one of the most exciting teams to watch. They haven't scored many goals but they haven't conceded many.

"They are the reigning champions and it will be a huge challenge for the England team but we are ready and in the next couple of days we will find a game plan and field a team that will give us a great chance to get to the final."

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