THE BLOG

The Women's World Cup Has Been Action Packed - I've Loved Every Minute

26/06/2015 17:38 BST | Updated 26/06/2016 10:59 BST

England take on hosts Canada in a sell-out fixture during the early hours of Sunday (KO: 00.30BST) for a place in the semi-finals, with the Lionesses winning through after a thrilling 2-1 defeat of former world champions Norway on Tuesday. This prompted the hashtag #Lionesses to trend worldwide on social media sites.

As well as the Wembley arch, a 'good luck' message will be displayed on the stadium big screen in the build-up to the #Lionesses game in Vancouver.

That victory was England's first-ever win in a knockout match at the World Cup and has left confidence high before the weekend showdown with Canada. Following the outstanding ratings success of the tournament at home and around the globe the game has been moved from BBC Three to BBC One.

Mark Sampson's side has grabbed the attention of the nation and millions of fans are expected to stay up late on Saturday to watch the team as they did to see Lucy Bronze's stunning 76th minute winning strike against the Norwegians on Monday night.

The Women's World Cup has been action packed. I've loved every minute of it. Like an ever growing army of people, I'm counting down the hours until our Lionesses take on hosts Canada in Vancouver in the wee small hours of Sunday morning. And I'm fortunate enough to be cheering them on in person.

As a member of the FIFA Women's Committee, I was thrilled to be appointed FIFA Match Commissioner for the opening game, which meant overseeing the fixture from a security, facility and operations perspective and reporting back to HQ.

For all the pre-tournament talk about playing on artificial pitches and concerns about the expansion to 24 teams impacting on quality, the tournament has been breaking viewing figures across the world.

One billion people are expected to have tuned in by the time the tournament concludes, and Canada are on track to sell 1.5m tickets. And we've been smashing viewing records here....2.4m watching England's opener v France.

We've had unprecedented coverage in the media and a bold 'We can Play' campaign is challenging perceptions of girls playing football. These topics will be discussed on when the sixth FIFA Women's World Cup Symposium is held in Vancouver just before the final in early July.

Unfortunately, despite a dogged display, our opening game wasn't the result we all wanted but England put that behind them on Saturday to beat Mexico 2-1 with Fran Kirby stealing the show.

It took me four flights to get to the game and back to Edmonton where I'm based but it was well worth the trip. So, after our games in Edmonton on Tuesday I flew overnight to Montreal to cheer them watch them beat Columbia on against Colombia.

And after a great result against Norway last week, a nation awaits. The iconic Wembley Arch will be lighting up this weekend in support of the team, a wonderful and fitting gesture.

So before I start my next long-distance journey full of renewed hope, expectation and anticipation, I have one message which I hope resonates right across the country..

Come on Lionesses, we can do this!