England captain Millie Bright has been cleared to start the Lionesses’ Women’s World Cup opening match against Haiti on Saturday, providing a significant boost for manager Sarina Weigman.

Bright injured his knee in Chelsea’s Champions League quarter-final first leg with Lyon in March, limiting his preparation time for the joint Australia-New Zealand tournament.

“I’m grateful to be able to play and super excited to be here,” she said Friday. “I was surrounded by the best people, so I was very confident in my recovery. They have given me absolutely everything I needed to be in this position.”

Las Leonas, who won the European Championship last year, have suffered injuries in their preparation for the Women’s World Cup. Beth Mead, Fran Kirby and Leah Williamson, who were projected starters for the team, have all been ruled out.

“Unfortunately, injuries are part of football,” said Bright, who replaced Williamson as tournament captain. “We have to look ahead and keep going. We have an incredible group of players and staff, and they’ve all stepped up. We’re ready to go.”

England will kick off against Haiti at 2:30 am ET on FOX.

Associated Press report.

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