Scott seeks con­so­la­tion af­ter ‘shat­ter­ing’ US de­feat

Eng­land mid­fielder says los­ing never gets eas­ier Sweden game ‘offers the chance to end on a high’

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Sport | Football - By Katie Why­att

Jill Scott fell asleep dur­ing Hol­land’s ex­tra-time win over Eng­land’s third-place World Cup play-off op­po­nents Sweden – but only be­cause she had not slept at all the night be­fore.

Eng­land’s rangy mid­fielder was one of about 11 play­ers who stayed up for most of the night “and talked about how we were feel­ing, try­ing to empty our heads a lit­tle bit” in the af­ter­math of their semi-fi­nal de­feat by the United States.

Scott was a mem­ber of Mark Sampson’s squad in Canada in 2015 when Laura Bas­sett’s own goal con­demned them to the same fate.

Their World Cup semi-fi­nal de­feat by Ja­pan that year, she said, “felt like a big­ger blow in a weird way be­cause it lit­er­ally was the last kick of the game”.

She is still “not over it. It hurts. It re­ally does. I still think about 2009 [Eu­ros, when Eng­land fin­ished sec­ond to Germany] even though we prob­a­bly had no chance of beat­ing Germany in the fi­nal. There’s so many more lows than highs. They don’t get any eas­ier. They hurt more be­cause you know there’s go­ing to be fewer op­por­tu­ni­ties, es­pe­cially as an older player.

“When some­thing bad happens, per­haps people feel like they all have to re­act in ex­actly the same way, that they have to look up­set. I would never judge if I saw some­one smile. Some­times, it even means that you are hurt­ing more.

“We do a lot of work on per­son­al­ity and if I’m go­ing through a bad mo­ment, I try to hide how I’m feel­ing by be­ing joy­ful be­cause I’m more em­bar­rassed. We have now cre­ated an en­vi­ron­ment where people don’t judge.

“Some might want to go to bed, some might ring their fam­ily. We played a bit of mu­sic to try and for­get about it, I sup­pose. Do you for­get about it? No, but for that mo­ment, you’re all go­ing to be awake for a few hours. For me, it’s nice to be sur­rounded by people go­ing through the same thing. If you ring home, some­times people don’t un­der­stand.”

Phil Neville repli­cated Sampson’s strat­egy of 2015 of al­low­ing play­ers space and time with their fam­i­lies the day af­ter the de­feat.

Scott, 32, has been one of Eng­land’s bet­ter play­ers at this tour­na­ment and has in­sisted through­out that she cannot yet, though her body feels fine, make a judg­ment on whether she will be here for Eng­land’s next World Cup. Yet this tour­na­ment has brought the best form of her in­ter­na­tional ca­reer, from her per­sis­tence and range on the field to her quiet lead­er­ship off.

Scott in­sisted the squad do not have “re­grets” but ac­knowl­edged that the in­ten­sity of the last two years, and the re­lent­less drive to win the World Cup, ex­ac­er­bated the empti­ness that fol­lowed their de­feat. “I never like to use the word ‘sac­ri­fice’ be­cause I do think we have got the best job in the world,” Scott said, “but I know the past cou­ple of years have been the least I’ve seen my fam­ily. I’ve missed out on so much stuff. I don’t know what a weekend looks like. It’s just foot­ball.

“You do give ev­ery­thing to it, so when in a minute ev­ery­thing is taken from you in a World Cup semi-fi­nal, it re­ally is shat­ter­ing. Some­times you think it would have been eas­ier to go home af­ter it be­cause ev­ery­thing has gone. “But in a weird way, this is the part of the sport I en­joy. I love this part of it. You are so low and you’ve got to get your­self back up now and take some good from this tour­na­ment. That’s one bit I’m ex­cited for. I’m not go­ing to sit here and lie and say it doesn’t hurt, be­cause it hurts now and it will hurt for a long time af­ter. But I’m des­per­ate to end this tour­na­ment on a high.”

To­tal de­jec­tion: Jill Scott af­ter Eng­land’s de­feat in the semi-fi­nal

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