Lee: My World Cup dream has come true

...it’s just tak­ing a while to sink in

East Kilbride News - - THE BACK PAGE - Paul Thom­son

Lee Alexan­der ad­mits lead­ing Scot­land to their first World Cup still hasn’t sunk in.

The Glas­gow City goal­keeper helped the women’s na­tional team to a 2-1 vic­tory over Al­ba­nia last week to top their qual­i­fi­ca­tion group and book their place at next sum­mer’s fi­nals in France.

It sparked ju­bi­lant scenes as play­ers and boss Shel­ley Kerr cel­e­brated be­com­ing the first Scot­land side to reach a World Cup fi­nals since the men’s team opened France 98 against Brazil.

But a week on from their mon­u­men­tal achieve­ment, Alexan­der is still in a state of shock. The 26-year-old, who hails from Ste­wart­field, said: “It still feels pretty raw, it’s al­most as if it hasn’t hap­pened.

“Even on the pitch we didn’t really know ex­actly what was hap­pen­ing un­til the fi­nal whis­tle went.

“It was just raw emo­tion at the end. You wanted to cry, but you couldn’t cry. There was shock...ev­ery­thing was bun­dled into one, but I didn’t know what to do with my­self be­cause there was so much dis­be­lief.

“We were so happy for one an­other. It’s a mem­ory I will never for­get.

“It’s the best one I’ve had in football – and prob­a­bly ever will – be­cause I don’t think any­thing will be able to match it. The whole ex­pe­ri­ence was a bit of a whirl­wind and even be­ing back home and say­ing it out loud, it doesn’t seem like it’s a re­al­ity yet.”

The former Calder­glen High School pupil has won ev­ery­thing do­mes­ti­cally with Glas­gow City, claim­ing 14 tro­phies, and guided them to their 11th league ti­tle in a row last sea­son.

She played in the Women’s Cham­pi­ons League, played pro­fes­sion­ally in Swe­den and was part of the Scot­land squad at the 2017 Eu­ros, although she never fea­tured.

So does reach­ing the World Cup top the lot?

“100 per cent,” she says em­phat­i­cally.

“When it comes to wear­ing the na­tional jersey and ev­ery time you get a call-up, it still feels like it’s the first time.

“To then go fur­ther and come out on top in a qual­i­fy­ing cam­paign on the very last day as group win­ners, ce­ment­ing your place at a World Cup, is just in­cred­i­ble.

“It’s a cliché, but it is what you dream of as a young kid.

“It’s a pinch your­self mo­ment, a great achieve­ment and one I’m very proud of.”

As Alexan­der tri­umphed and claimed a 12th cap for her coun­try, mum Lynn, dad David and sis­ter Katie all wit­nessed the achieve­ment on TV.

And she paid trib­ute to her fam­ily for help­ing her achieve her dreams.

“My par­ents are on hol­i­day and they aren’t back un­til the end of Septem­ber, so I haven’t seen them yet, but they’ve been great,” she said.

“They’ve been great sup­port­ers of me along the way and they’ve sac­ri­ficed a lot in terms of when I was younger, tak­ing me to games.*

Read more from Alexan­der on Scot­land’s achieve­ment in next week’s News.

Amaz­ing mo­ment Lee, left, and team-mate Fiona Brown af­ter qual­i­fy­ing for the World Cup fi­nals

Party time Lee Alexan­der (mid­dle row, far right) cel­e­brates with Scot­land in Al­ba­nia

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