England women receive royal pep talk before World Cup semi

England's Fara Williams celebrates with teammate Toni Duggan (18) after scoring on a penalty shot against Japan during the first half of a semifinal in the FIFA Women's World Cup soccer tournament, Wednesday, July 1, 2015, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP)

EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — The Lionesses have received a royal pep talk from Prince William before England faces defending champion Japan in a World Cup semifinal on Wednesday.

England team spokeswoman Catherine Stewart confirmed William called and wished the players and coaches good luck during a team meeting earlier in the day. The sixth-ranked Lionesses have created a buzz back home after reaching the semifinal for the first time in four tournament appearances.

They are also only England’s third team — men or women — to reach the semifinal stage of the World Cup, joining the 1966 and 1990 men’s squads.

William, the Duke of Cambridge, also doubles as the nation’s Football Association president.

BBC-TV reported William called the players “a true inspiration,” and urged them to “go get ’em.”

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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