June 30, 2019 / 4:40 PM / 19 days ago

Martens will not train to spare sore foot ahead of semi-final

LYON, France (Reuters) - Netherlands striker Lieke Martens is not likely to do much training ahead of Wednesday’s women’s World Cup semi-final against Sweden as she protects a foot injury.

Soccer Football - Women's World Cup - Quarter Final - Italy v Netherlands - Stade du Hainaut, Valenciennes, France - June 29, 2019 Netherlands' Lieke Martens in action REUTERS/Phil Noble

The problem should not stop her from playing as the Dutch seek to reach a first-ever final, however.

Martens was hurt celebrating her winning goal in the second round against Japan last Tuesday and did not train ahead of the quarter-final against Italy in Valenciennes on Saturday.

Despite that, she managed to play a full match as the Dutch beat the Italians 2-0 to advance to the last four.

“When you are fuelled by adrenaline you can do a lot,” Martens said of playing through pain after team mate Jill Roord jumped on her when they were celebrating success over the Japanese in the second round.

“As we head towards Wednesday, it’s going to be very much the same as it was before the Italy game for me,” the 26-year-old told reporters.

After the game against Japan, the pain was so bad that she could hardly walk and her participation in Saturday’s quarter-final was doubtful right to the last minute.

“It was a rollercoaster — maybe, no, maybe, yes — but I always believed I would play. I know what my body can do.

“We have great medical staff who did everything they could and I managed to play a full 90 minutes.

“The pain is still there and I have had another reaction but if I was able to play on Saturday, I can play again on Wednesday,” added the player named best women’s footballer by FIFA two years ago when the Dutch won the European Championship.

Reporting by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Clare Fallon

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