England's Jill Scott watched the regulation 90 minutes of England's UEFA WOMEN'S EURO 2009™ semi-final against the Netherlands in Tampere on Sunday night from the bench. Half an hour later, she was celebrating scoring the winning goal.
Everton LFC midfielder Scott was sent on at the start of extra time with the score at 1-1 and took up an attacking role, particularly using her height at corners. Having already gone close more than once, with four minutes left Scott connected with fellow substitute Karen Carney's corner and the ball crept in to send England into Thursday's final against Germany or Norway.
"There was one before that which hit my shoulder and I thought, 'Oh, God,'" Scott told uefa.com. "I managed to get my head to it and thankfully it went in." England manager Hope Powell clearly had that in mind when she sent Scott on for young winger Jessica Clarke. "She just said that Kelly [Smith] was going to be pushing on up front and could I play just behind and get a few headers," Scott added.
Just as well, as it avoided the need for her nation's nemesis in major tournaments, a penalty shoot-out, which indeed was the method by which the Netherlands had knocked out France in the quarter-finals in Tampere on Thursday. "Penalties don't usually go down well in England," Scott said. "We've be practicing them a lot after training and if it had gone that far we would have been confident. But I don't know about personally!"
It was not the first epic game of England's campaign. They had to come from behind in their last two qualifiers in the Czech Republic and Spain, lost their opener here to Italy after Casey Stoney's early red card, in the next game against Russia they were 2-0 down after 22 minutes and facing elimination before recovering to win, while their 3-2 defeat of Finland in the quarter-finals was also a thriller. "In the first game we went a player down to Italy and lost the game 2-1 so everything was against us," Scott said. "But we've known that we've always got the character, the strength and the players to get this far and we've proved it."
Now they will play for the trophy at Helsinki's Olympic Stadium and Scott said: "I don't think it's sunk in yet. We've had quite a rough ride to get this far but now we have three days off so we'll use that time to focus and prepare for whoever we've got in the final."
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