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Mark Sampson urges England Women to stay cool against Spain

England Women’s coach Mark Sampson has warned his players to beware Spain’s dark arts before their European Championship Group D clash

Mark Sampson has warned his England players to beware the “dark arts” practised by a Spain side that he believes “people find it hard to fall in love with” when the Euro 2017 rivals meet in Breda on Sunday night. The game not only promises to determine which team finishes top of Group D but should also prove to be a useful litmus test of the Lionesses’ status as contenders.

“Spain are one of those teams that, on one hand, are the purist’s dream yet, on the other, are incredibly frustrating,” said Sampson, whose players thrashed Scotland 6-0 in their opening Group D match last Wednesday. “No one would argue that Spain’s tippy-tappy football, their possession-based style, isn’t pleasing on the eye.

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