Let’s go out to beat the Bel­gians!


The Football League Paper - - WOMEN'S FOOTBALL WEEKLY - By Tony Leighton

ENG­LAND need only a draw with Bel­gium on Tues­day to fin­ish top of their Euro 17 qual­i­fy­ing group. But, says mid­fielder Jill Scott, the Lionesses are de­ter­mined to end on a win­ning note as they look to put the record straight in Leu­ven.

Man­ches­ter City star Scott hit a late equaliser when the teams met at Rother­ham in April, the 1-1 draw spoil­ing Eng­land’s oth­er­wise 100 per cent record that con­tin­ued with Thurs­day evening’s 5-0 thrash­ing of Es­to­nia at Meadow Lane.

Arse­nal striker Danielle Carter took the plau­dits with a hat-trick – her sec­ond in two matches against Es­to­nia – at the Notts County ground, but Scott also kept up an im­pres­sive scor­ing record that has been barely no­ticed.

The 29-year-old for­mer Sun­der­land and Ever­ton player has scored in five of Eng­land’s seven Euro 17 qual­i­fiers to date, most cru­cially in the 1-0 home win against Bos­nia & Herze­gov­ina, fol­lowed by that 1-1 draw with Bel­gium.

As she looked ahead to Tues­day’s re­turn fix­ture, in which she is set to win her 111th cap, Scott said: “At the be­gin­ning of this cam­paign I sat down with (head coach) Mark (Samp­son) and he said he wanted me to be get­ting more goals.

“I agreed with him and I’ve been work­ing hard on do­ing that. I’m happy that I’ve got a few dur­ing the cam­paign – even though they’ve all been from only two or three yards out, like the one I scored on Thurs­day!

“I was de­lighted for Dan, who was back in the team for the first time since she hit a hat-trick on her de­but against Es­to­nia last year and did the same again with some ex­cel­lent fin­ish­ing at Meadow Lane.

“It was another good win for us and it’s set us up nicely for Tues­day’s game in Bel­gium.

“It will prob­a­bly be as tough as the one at Rother­ham, where they played re­ally well and made it very dif­fi­cult for us af­ter they’d taken an early lead.

“They’re big, strong and phys­i­cal, and, with pace up front, they’ve got a good out­let for counter-at­tacks. My equaliser came only a few min­utes from time, so the feel­ing was re­lief more than any­thing when the ball hit the net.

“To be hon­est, our per­for­mance that day wasn’t our best, not by any means.

“We’ll be look­ing to put the record straight on Tues­day with a per­for­mance that shows we to­tally de­serve to be go­ing to the Euro fi­nals.”


Hav­ing al­ready qual­i­fied for the fi­nals, to be played in the Nether­lands next sum­mer, the re­sult in Leu­ven will not af­fect Eng­land in any ma­te­rial re­spect, other than their fin­ish­ing po­si­tion in the qual­i­fy­ing group ta­ble.

Pride is at stake, though, let alone a 14-year un­beaten record in qual­i­fy­ing for ma­jor tour­na­ments, so the Lionesses will be fo­cused on not just get­ting the point they need to top the group but a cam­paign-end­ing vic­tory, in­sists Scott.

“I’ve never been in a team that goes out to play for a draw,” she said. “That’s a dan­ger­ous ap­proach that can play into your op­po­nent’s hands. “We want to win the game and end the cam­paign in style, then start our prepa­ra­tions for the fi­nals. They’re ten months away and there’s a lot of work to be done to make sure we’re ready to per­form in Hol­land.”

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Im­ages

GET CARTER: Eng­land called up the Arse­nal star, who re­sponded with a hat­trick

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Im­ages

BOSS: Mark Samp­son GREAT SCOTT: Eng­land’s Jill Scott scores the sec­ond goal against Es­to­nia

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