JILL EAGER TO KEEP UP ‘AMAZING JOURNEY’

Jill Scott goes gunning for Japan in tonight's Women's World Cup semi-final
Jill Scott goes gunning for Japan in tonight's Women's World Cup semi-final

Jill Scott insists England’s women are “very determined” their “amazing journey” will not end in Edmonton.

England have already created history by reaching the last four of the Women’s World Cup for the first time and tonight (kick-off midnight, live on BBC1) they must end the reign of holders Japan to make the final.

“It’s been a dream come true, but we are very determined that we don’t want this amazing journey to end,” said the 28-year-old Wearsider.

“We really want to make that final in Vancouver.

“Hopefully we can put in a performance and ensure we are there at the weekend.”

Head coach Mark Sampson revealed that he sent his Lionesses out in Canada with the aim of winning the World Cup.

It looks a huge ask, especially when you consider that England did not win a game at their last major tournament under previous boss Hope Powell.

But Sampson has turned this squad into winners, not just with his tactics and rotation on the pitch but the way he has fostered an incredible team spirit and self-belief.

“We have been relaxed throughout the competition,” said Scott. “We believe in our squad.

“We have a great squad of 23 players and there has been a relaxed feel around us.

“The spirit has been a massive part of why we’re still in this tournament.

“Mark has come in and done a lot of work off the pitch, especially the relationships with each other.

“It does feel like we are one big family when we step out on that pitch. You don’t want to let your team-mate down.

“All that work we’ve done off the pitch has shown on the pitch.”

England’s women have caught the imagination of the country and the Manchester City midfielder thanked the nation for getting behind them. “We’ve had feedbac,k but it’s hard to completely feel it a million miles away,Q” she said.

“But we recognise it and are grateful for all the support we are getting.”

Tonight will be a special moment for Sunderland and the North East.

Five of the England squad are ex-Sunderland players and all but keeper Carly Telford has played some part in the tournament.

Scott, skipper Steph Houghton and goal hero Lucy Bronze have been integral players, while Jordan Nobbs has also played.

And Scott, a Wearsider born and bred, praised her hometown club and former manager Mick Mulhern for setting them on their way.

“It’s great to have the five of us here,” she said. “A lot of credit must go to Mick Mulhern.He put a lot of time into us and we developed as players.

“We came through the centre of excellence and Jordan came through the Sunderland set-up at a very young age.

“Football is massive in the North East and I’m so proud to say I’m from Sunderland.”

Scott will be supported in the Commonwealth Stadium tonight by her brother, Mark.

“I was so pleased we reached the semi-finals,” she said. “My brother is a teacher in Madrid, and he’s been unable to get out until the semi, so he’s on a flight now.

“I’m excited to see him and hopefully we can make sure he attends two games!”