Scott: I can already picture France 2019

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Scott: I can already picture France 2019

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As the world of football counts down to the reveal of the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019™ official emblem and slogan – in Paris on 19 September – we are interviewing major figures from the women’s game about the history, the present and the future of the Women’s World Cup.

  • Alex Scott played 12 FIFA Women’s World Cup matches
  • The defender helped England to best-ever third-place finish at Canada 2015
  • Retired from international football earlier this month

Although 32-year-old Alex Scott retired from international football recently, the defender's status as an England icon had long been assured after winning 140 caps in a stellar 13-year career.

She appeared in a hat-trick of FIFA Women's World Cups and UEFA Women’s EUROs, as well as an Olympic Games, and there is little reason to argue the claim of Scott’s national team manager, Mark Sampson, when he called her "one of the greatest players to ever wear the England shirt".

The spry, driven full-back recently told FIFA.com of her excitement for the next Women's World Cup and her pride at England’s emergence as a power in the women’s game.

Focus on France 2019
On 19 September, England kick-off their qualifying road for the Women’s World Cup when they host Russia, who are in UEFA Group 1 along with Wales, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kazakhstan. After reaching the semi-final stage at the last World Cup and European Championship, the Three Lionesses are considered favourites to reach the next global finals.

What she says
"I can already picture the crowds and the atmosphere in France. Every World Cup is always bigger than the last, so the excitement building around 2019 is already huge. The expectation for England can’t just to be happy to qualify anymore and to simply take part, because we have worked so hard to get to this level. I suppose you always want to get a medal, and having tasted the bronze we should want to turn that into gold. That has to be the ultimate aim."

England rising
Scott’s debut in a FIFA tournament came with a 5-1 defeat by USA at the 2002 U-20 Women’s World Cup in a period that was marked by the senior team failing to qualify for two successive Women's World Cups. The improvement in England's national sides over the period of Scott's international journey is a good marker of the nation's potential in women's football.

What she says
"The growth of the women’s game has been phenomenal, and it has been so rapid. Every tournament there is growth and a gain in confidence. England is not scared any more to play the best teams, and I see it always continuing to rise to new levels. It’s great we’re here, but we can’t be happy. We want the sport to progress even more."

A surprising turning point
Scott says her most memorable Women’s World Cup moment was defeating Canada in Vancouver as revenge for their having knocked England out as hosts of the Olympics three years before. The influence that the Class of 2015 had on the audience back home is still being measured.

What she says
"[In Vancouver] the atmosphere was electric, so for us to go on and win that game and progress while knocking the host nation out was a big turning point for us. And then of course there was another kind of turning point as we progressed. People stayed up late to watch us or went to the pub or were with their family members, and then when we went home people recognised us at the market. It has been happening for a while in England, gaining momentum off the back of tournaments, but our success in 2015 was significant for women’s football back home."

 

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