We can’t afford to take Argentina lightly, warns England keeper Bardsley

We can’t afford to take Argentina lightly, warns England keeper Bardsley

Karen Bardsley has stressed there is no danger of England underestimating Argentina when the sides meet in Le Havre on Friday.

The Lionesses’ second Group D match at the Women’s World Cup sees them take on a side 37th in the world rankings.

But the South Americans held 2015 runners-up Japan to a 0-0 draw in their opener on Monday, securing their first ever point at a finals in their third campaign.

— Lionesses (@Lionesses) June 10, 2019

England goalkeeper Bardsley said: “I think everyone in this tournament is here on merit and we definitely do not underestimate any team.

“I think we’re very much prepared for anything that could happen. We have to treat it as if we are going to play a top nation. We have to be extremely respectful of what could potentially happen.

“They have a striker who used to play for Lyon (Sole Jaimes). By far, we can’t underestimate these players.

“There’s no doubt they are a good team, especially when you can keep a team like Japan at 0-0.”

England will have to keep Argentina strike Sole Jaimes quiet
England will have to keep Argentina strike Sole Jaimes quiet (Alessandra Tarantino/AP).

Argentina are ranked three places below Thailand, who were thrashed 13-0 by defending champions United States on Tuesday, the biggest win in the history of the tournament.

Asked for her thoughts on whether the game had been a good or bad advert for women’s football, California-born Bardsley said: “I think in terms of the ruthlessness, fair play. You want to score goals, everyone wants to score in a World Cup. I’m not going to knock them for doing that.

“I do think that the two teams that played yesterday, there’s just a massive disparity between the two.

“You have to look at where Thailand are in their development, at their history and where they are in terms of how long people have been playing – are they professional, how many players are playing abroad?

“And you look at the US team and how long they have been playing professionally and their history. There’s no way there can be parity between the two.

“In terms of ruthlessness, I wouldn’t expect anything less from the US, just to bang in goals.

“And, if anything, if I’m going to be honest it’s probably a good thing that it happened because now we understand there needs to be an improvement here, or perhaps the Thai federation will invest a bit more to grow the team. That’s the way I choose to look at it, as an opportunity to do better.”

England beat Scotland 2-1 in their opening match
England beat Scotland 2-1 in their opening match (Richard Sellers/PA).

Having kicked off their campaign in France with the 2-1 win over Scotland in Nice on Sunday, Phil Neville’s squad are now at a base in Deauville as they prepare for Friday’s match at the Stade Oceane.

“In a tournament situation I think you just want to win, so to draw a line under that (Scotland) game, we’re super happy we got three points,” Bardsley, 34, said on Wednesday morning.

“We did a recovery the next day, went swimming in the sea and then jumped on a plane and came here.

“It’s been nice, I feel the group’s relaxed. We’re ready to get focused again.”