Scott: World Cup semi is for whole of women's game

Tuesday 30 Jun 2015
Jill Scott is just five caps away from 100

When Mark Sampson’s Lionesses take on Japan in the World Cup semi-final they will be representing not just themselves, but the entire women’s football community in England.

That is the view of midfielder Jill Scott, who said her team’s fundamental aim at Canada 2015 was to inspire a nation.

England’s record run to the last four has captured the hearts of the public back home, with the team featuring on the front and back pages of newspapers.

Japan v England

FIFA Women's World Cup
Commonwealth Stadium, Edmonton
Live on BBC One from 11.10pm, Wednesday

They have received a number of congratulatory messages from a host of famous names – among them former England captain David Beckham and current skipper Wayne Rooney.

Scott said: "The messages we have received have been really pleasing.

"The best messages are from people that tell us their daughter wants to go out and buy a football kit or football boots for the first time.

"Those sorts of messages, for the players, are the most important ones.

Jill Scott in World Cup action against France

Jill Scott has been one of England's most impressive players in Canada

"We really do want to inspire a nation and if that means there’s hundreds more girls back in England getting a new pair of football boots then that’s what it’s all about.

"We are not stepping on that pitch just for us – we are stepping on that pitch for the whole of women’s football.

"Hopefully we can carry on and make our country proud."

Japan are the current world champions – and Olympic silver medallists – and they have won every match at this year’s World Cup, so Scott is aware of the threat they bring.

However, the Manchester City midfielder was in the England team that defeated Japan at Germany 2011 – their only defeat on their way to winning the competition.

Jodie Taylor

Scott (r) congratulates Jodie Taylor after the latter's goal against Canada

And Scott draws heart from the result of four years ago.

She recalled: "We put in a great performance that day.

"Japan had a lot of possession but we kept our shape and hit them on the counter-attack twice through Ellen White and Rachel Yankey.

"We were the only team in that tournament to beat Japan so we can take confidence from that. They are world champions and we have to respect that but we have beaten them before, so why not again?"

England celebrate their World Cup quarter final win over Canada

England have reached their first-ever World Cup semi-final

She added: "We are very well prepared, as we have been for every game. That’s why we’ve reached the semi-finals.

"It’s exciting times, to say you’re in the semi-final of a World Cup.

"A lot of the players have waited a long time for this moment. We’re really excited.

"We are looking forward to the game and giving it everything we’ve got.

"We’ll leave everything on the pitch."

If England defeat Japan they will take on USA in Sunday’s final after Jill Ellis's side beat Germany in the other semi-final on Tuesday evening.

By Glenn Lavery in Edmonton, Canada