by Lewis Ambrose
As a goalkeeper there is nowhere to hide, so you can barely imagine how Siobhan Chamberlain felt in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Well, it was the early hours here, back in England, where millions had tuned into the BBC to watch the England Women in World Cup quarter-final against host nation Canada.
Thrown into the action in the 52nd minute of the 2-1 quarter-final win, Chamberlain is ready to be called upon again if she is needed.
“As we came out for the second half Karen mentioned to me that she had a problem,” Chamberlain revealed ahead of the semi-finals.
“I’d warmed up anyway during half-time because, in our position, you know anything can happen at any point in any game. As a goalkeeper you’ve got to make sure you’re always properly prepared.”
“There’s still time for Bards to fully recover but, as a keeper, you’ve always got to be ready regardless and it will be the same if I’m needed against Japan,” said the goalkeeper.
Fellow goalkeeper Karen Bardsley’s vision was impaired after an allergic reaction caused swelling around her eyes. Coming on, Chamberlain won her 33rd England cap and finally saw some World Cup action. This is the goalkeeper’s third World Cup, but yet it again it looked like she would spend the duration of the tournament on the bench.
“I did enjoy coming on against Canada,” Chamberlain said.
“It’s a strange one because you’re coming into a situation which maybe you shouldn’t enjoy because there’s so much pressure on you, but I loved it – I didn’t feel nervous at all. The situation just took me over and I embraced the opportunity.”
The 31 year-old used all of her experience to stay calm and in control – taking her time to make sure she was ready.
“I thought ‘Well, they can’t start the game without me,’ so I took my time.
“If I’d started rushing or panicking I wouldn’t have been in a good place.”
And it worked. England held on to reach their first ever World Cup semi-final where, having already knocked out the hosts, they will face the current holders Japan at midnight (BST) on Wednesday.
“To get to a World Cup semi-final for the first time is amazing. Everyone’s chuffed to bits.”
“They’re an excellent side, very technical, they’re the World Cup holders and they’ve done well in this tournament.
“We had a couple of their players at Arsenal last year in Yukari Kinga and Shinobu Ohno and they were both fantastic. It should be an exciting game.”
Arsenal team-mate and England veteran Casey Stoney also came on in the dying moments of the game, and was thrilled for Chamberlain.
“Seeing Shiv coming on and doing well after all the sacrifices she’s made was beyond words.”
The game against Japan is even bigger, but leaves England on the brink of a landmark World Cup Final.
They have already surpassed expectations, they have gone above and beyond expectations and made history to get this far. Why not go further?
Hopefully it works out like that, and it would be great to see yet more Arsenal in this World Cup.