Jill Scott: Signing off World Cup with a medal will set England up for the future

England midfielder Jill Scott says low moments like Tuesday’s World Cup semi-final loss to the United States hurt more the older she gets – but she relishes the challenge of trying to lift herself and claim another bronze medal.

After their bid for the trophy came to an end with a dramatic 2-1 defeat against the US in Lyon, the Lionesses are now in Nice preparing to face Sweden in Saturday’s third place play-off.

Securing third spot would match their competition-best effort of 2015, when they followed up being beaten 2-1 by Japan with a 1-0 extra-time victory over Germany.

Scott and England's players were gutted
Scott and England’s players were gutted (Richard Sellers/PA)

Thirty-two-year-old Scott, for whom this is a fourth World Cup campaign, said: “I’ve been through a lot of these moments, unfortunately, where you’re feeling as low as a snake’s belly.

“You kind of reflect on them. They definitely don’t get any easier. They hurt more because you know there’s going to be less opportunities, especially as an older player.

“As long as you’ve left everything out there on the pitch, you can kind of move on a little bit.”

When then asked how long it had taken her to get over the 2015 semi-final defeat in Edmonton, sealed by Laura Bassett’s stoppage-time own goal, Scott said: “I’m not. I’m still not. It still hurts, it does, it really hurts.

Manager Phil Neville and his players have captured the public's imagination
Manager Phil Neville and his players have captured the public’s imagination (John Walton/PA)

“You never really get over it. I still think about 2009 (the Euro 2009 final), even though we probably had no chance of beating Germany that day (they lost 6-2). You’re still gutted you didn’t walk away with that medal.

“There’s so many more lows than highs. In club football, the amount of finals I’ve been in and lost… And then you get that winners’ medal eventually and it means so much to you.

“That’s why I know if we can get that bronze medal on Saturday, the younger players, the older players who maybe haven’t got many more tournaments left in us, we can end this one on a high and say it has been a good journey.”

She added: “In that one moment where that dream of playing in a World Cup final is taken away from you, it really is shattering, and sometimes you think it would have been easier probably just to go home in that moment, because everything has gone.

“But I think this is the bit that, in a weird way, I enjoy. I love this part of sport, where you are so low but you’ve got to get yourself back up now and we can still take some good from this tournament. I think that’s one bit I’m excited for.

Scott says she is not ready to say goodbye
Scott says she is not ready to say goodbye (Richard Sellers/PA)

“But I’m not going to sit here and lie and say it doesn’t hurt. It will hurt for a long time after this as well.”

While Scott said on Tuesday that this World Cup “could be my last”, she also spoke enthusiastically about next summer’s Olympics in Tokyo, where Great Britain will have a team, and Euro 2021, which England is hosting.

The Manchester City player has started five out of England’s six games in France, and says she feels there’s “more to come from me given the opportunity.”

“I think that was the first question I got asked when I stepped off the pitch against America,” she said.

“Feeling like c**p and they are telling you you should retire!

Scott now hopes to sign off in style
Scott now hopes to sign off in style (Richard Sellers/PA)

“I just want to be judged on performance. If I’m not performing, I’ll accept not being selected for this squad. But I just don’t just want to be judged on my age.

“Because off the pitch I probably act like an 18-year-old, and I’m trying to keep the energy levels of an 18-year-old on the pitch as well.

“I’ve felt good (at the tournament). I’ve stayed in the team, which is pleasing from an individual point of view.

“Overall I have been pleased and I still think there’s more to come. I always want to get better and I do think there’s more to come from me given the opportunity.”

Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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