England has reached 1966, 1990 men’s level, says coach
Sampson’s side beat hosts Canada 2-1 to progress to the last four of the tournament for the first time.
The men’s team of 1966 won the World Cup, while the 1990 side were beaten at the semi-final stage.
“They are history-makers again, the third ever England team to get to a semi-final,” said Sampson.
“We now join the 1966 and the 1990 club, and I’m very proud of the whole group.”
Sampson described the atmosphere as like a “cauldron” against host nation Canada at the BC Place Stadium in Vancouver.
His side took the lead through a Jodie Taylor shot and Lucy Bronze header as they scored two goals in three minutes.
England goalkeeper, Karen Bardsley’s fumble allowed Christine Sinclair to pull one back for Canada, but they failed to engineer an equaliser as a resolute England stood firm.
“What a show of resilience and character from the team,” added Sampson.
“They have shown a desire I’ve never seen from an England team before to hang on in there and get us through to the next round.
“We didn’t play much football and Canada were outstanding. But this team just won’t give in. We had to get to levels we have never been to before.”
England will now play holders, Japan, in the semi-final on Wednesday.
“We got ourselves through and I could not be prouder,” said Sampson. “Every player ran through brick walls for this team. I don’t know where this team found their energy.
“It was a do-or-die game. Canada gave everything, England gave everything and we came out on top.”
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