- A Women's International
- Road to France Series
- 7.15pm, Friday 5 April
- Academy Stadium, Manchester
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Playing Canada isn’t just another game for Jodie Taylor – it’s a reminder of some of her greatest moments on a football pitch.
Just a few weeks remain until striker Taylor has the chance to rekindle joys of matches past, with England hosting the world’s number five-ranked side at a sold-out Academy Stadium in Manchester on Friday 5 April.
The contest will form a vital part of Phil Neville’s World Cup preparations as England look to head to France with a solid foundation, as they bid for their first global title, hot on the heels of lifting the SheBelieves Cup for the first time.
But that doesn’t mean Taylor isn’t keen to focus on what has already come to pass, with her previous battle with Canada in the 2015 World Cup still providing a source of enjoyment after upsetting the hosts on their own patch.
“It is crazy how quickly it has come around again because it [the World Cup game against Canada] was probably one of my favourite games of my whole career,” she said.
“With it being the quarter final of a World Cup, something England had never won, the build-up was amazing and it was all about creating history.
“I had torn my meniscus six-to-eight weeks out from the tournament, so it was touch and go as to whether I would even be playing at all.
“Fortunately, the coach [Mark Sampson] stuck with me but never in a million years did I expect to start, but there I was, first game back, starting a World Cup quarter final.
“And then I scored and I just I remember the 50,000 fans in the stadium, obviously all supporting Canada, go completely silent – you could hear a pin drop.
“I was new to the squad and it was my first major tournament so I hadn’t been there for other players’ disappointment previously but it just felt like the monkey got lifted off everyone’s backs.”
A fond memory it may be but Taylor and her side are in the business of creating brand new ones.
Victory over Canada helped England to third place overall – their best World Cup performance – but confidence is high that even that achievement can be eclipsed in France.
And with World Cup warm-up clashes next on the agenda, Taylor, top scorer at Euro 2017, knows the hard work is only just beginning if Neville’s charges are to enjoy a happy summer.
She said: “That Canada game was such a significant moment for the team and it broke so many boundaries for the players.
“From that moment on it has been a different team. It was a really special match and a really special moment.”
Taylor added: “I want to win the World Cup. It was great getting a bronze at the last one and scoring my first goal there.
“I have had success at the Euros as an individual but the last thing left for me to do is lift that trophy.
“When I look back at where we were then compared to where we are now, physically, tactically, technically and belief-wise, it is scary how far we have come.
“We have so much more depth, which is always key to having a successful tournament, but I just want to win it and I know we can.”
The Canada game is the first of four home World Cup warm-up matches.
England will also face Spain in Swindon on Tuesday 9 April and Denmark in Walsall on Saturday 25 May before the France 2019 send-off against New Zealand in Brighton on Saturday 1 June.
Tickets for the latter three matches are already on sale, with children able to attend for just £1.