Lucy Bronze: Lyon treble & England World Cup heartbreak
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Lucy Bronze: Lyon treble & England World Cup heartbreak

November 16, 2019


One year on from signing for Lyon –
How have you settled in? I think I settled in within the
first three months anyway, but a year on, now you can say
you’re defending our trophies. The year before you’re like,
oh Lyon have won this. Whereas now, I’m part of that history, winning the Champions League the year
before with them and the league, so definitely was fully immersed into the club,
the language, the players, friends with all the girls,
settled in where I’m living and everything so. I was definitely in a really good
place at the start of the year. Wales made sure it was a hostile environment
against England, how was that like? It was actually funny coming to training and they’d moved the line in so they’d
made the pitch smaller as well, but I think they did it to try
and put us off our game, whereas we kind of found
it quite amusing in a way. The atmosphere at that game… It’s a game I remember because
obviously I’m taking throw-ins, I’m playing right-back, and I’m right on
the edge line next to the Parisian fans and they’re throwing toilet paper
on the pitch and stuff. Me and the right winger, we’re not getting hit
by anything, but it was trying to intimidate us. They were chanting when we
came out onto the pitch. It’s a game that I really
enjoyed in that respect. Against Brazil, did you think it was a penalty? Funnily enough, the referee for that game, she came up to me in the next game and
said I’m really sorry it wasn’t a penalty. I remember even arguing with Marta! She was like, ‘it was a penalty’,
and I was like, ‘it literally was not a penalty’. But I guess that’s part of being a defender. People don’t know, but I actually
played in midfield in a training camp, but it was kind of a hush hush thing. He [Phil] told me a few weeks before,
you’ll play in midfield, and I was excited. Although Megan Rapinoe and Tobin Heath
play on the wing, they come in a lot. So I was kind of involved in
all of their best players, with the three in midfield,
the wingers are coming in, it was exciting and we got a good result. It felt good to finally stamp our foot down and
win a trophy – and against top teams as well. That made people realise that England were
a good team and were kind of here to stay. That was a lot of fun. I remember the first we played at home in our
big stadium and our first half was amazing, but we kind of blew up a little bit in the second
half and their second half was amazing! It was a great game.
I enjoy playing against PSG, I enjoy playing against Wolfsburg, because they’re the top teams that challenge you. But when we played them away,
that game was just crazy. We started off on fire,
we got the away goals, two teams going at it for
goals on top of each other and it was a good game to be part of, and I think it will have been a good
game to watch as a fan as well. We know we’re capable of beating
any team five or six nil, but at the same time, if a team plays
well they can push us as well, which is why we had a 1-1 with them. But 5-0 – everything just kind of clicked
and the goals just kind of flowed through. It was really exciting, and for the French girls,
they absolutely loved it. It was like winning the Champions League
just that game for them. To have finally just sealed it in that game,
to know that it’s guaranteed, the league’s done with,
you know that that’s in the locker and you’ve just got two more focuses. People don’t always appreciate how hard it is to
focus on so many competitions at the same time, regardless of how good you might
be and the talent you have. It’s still hard to keep your
focus and your drive and that’s the expectation at Lyon. It’s every single game is a win, because you’ve got to have that
focus to win the trophies. How hungry were you to beat
Lille in that final? In the quarter-finals when we beat PSG,
that was like the real big game for us, knowing that we have to take
them out of the competition, because of the kind of controversial
win that they had the year before. For me, personally,
to get my hands on that trophy, that was the trophy that I was
missing in terms of the French league, so it was good to kind of tick
that box and get that done. Then later you end that season
with the Champions League win… That kind of reminded me of the PSG 5-0 game
where it just kind of clicked. When our players, every single one of them, are on form and they’re clicking
and they’re fit, they’re firing, that’s the kind of thing we can do. I think there was people saying
‘ah, it’s not competitive’, I’m like, Barcelona are a good team. We struggled against them last year in the
Champions League, narrowly beating them. But I think we were so focused and
so honed in that it just clicked. Everything went together and
within that first 25-30 minutes, it was game over, game done, job done, get through the 90 and pick the trophy up. And then I think in the World Cup it was more, there was the expectation that England
should win because England are now classed, like I said, as a top team, and Scotland,
it’s their first World Cup. But, I mean, the game didn’t show the difference. There was that rivalry on the pitch,
a bit of nudging and budging and barging, but at the end of the game it
was good that we got the win, we got off to a good start
which is what we wanted. Phil had told us that some of
the Norwegian players were saying, oh, England don’t really like to run
and they’re not this fit team. And there’s me and Jill Scott thinking,
well that’s kind of what our game is based around, as this hard-working,
hard to beat [duo]. First 10 minutes it was both myself and Jill
that were involved in the first two goals. I think that was the most satisfying
thing for me in that entire game. But maybe they left us a little
bit tired for the next game… I’m still downbeat. Every time I see a VAR decision
in the Premier League, or on the TV, I just think of Ellen White’s
offside goal by *this much*. That’s the reason we weren’t in the final. Yes it would’ve made it just 2-2 but I think
in the dying moments of the game, I feel like we were kind of on top. We were on top before that and it kind of gave
them a chance to settle back into the game and see out the game, which they know
how to do as they’re a top team. I’ve said it before – I think it’s going
to haunt me for the rest of my life, because of those little things that
didn’t quite go in our favour. It was slight margins. I don’t enjoy winning individual awards, especially the Silver Ball kind
of fell with no meaning for me, because the whole point of winning those
awards is winning the World Cup. Ultimately, I would trade every
single one of those awards, every award I have at home,
just to win the World Cup. Regardless of what I did at Lyon or
England as an individual or as a team, the World Cup was the biggest disappointment
and it will always be.

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