Wearsider Jill Scott fired up to conquer ‘Barcelona of the women’s game’ in World Cup semi-final

Jill Scott (right), with England team-mate Jodie Taylor
Jill Scott (right), with England team-mate Jodie Taylor

England must overcome “the Barcelona of the women’s game” to reach the final of the World Cup.

That was the message from midfield ace Jill Scott on the eve of England’s semi-final against Japan.

The Japanese are the reigning champions and favourites for an intriguing last four tie in Edmonton.

But Scott says Mark Sampson’s in-form side are not just there to make up the numbers and says they must believe in themselves.

“Japan are a fantastic team, they would not be world champions if they weren’t,” said the Man City midfielder.

“The way they like to play football, it is a pleasure to watch them.

“They like to get the ball down and pass it around, you’d probably say they are the Barcelona of the women’s game.

“It’s going to be a very tough game.

“But we know we must try to use our physical strength and fitness and have a game-plan to try to stifle them.

“We’ve got to believe that we can put in a performance tomorrow.”

Belief is clearly strong - after losing their tournament opener to France, the Lionesses have reeled off four wins on the spin, all by 2-1 margins.

“It’s been fantastic so far to reach the semi-final, but we’re determined the journey won’t end there,” added the 28-year-old, from Sunderland.