Hope Springs Eternal
Updated Tuesday, 11th November 2003
Scotland's women tackle England on Thursday with a bumper crowd expected.
Their manager, Hope Powell, knows her team is in for a tough game. She said: "To be honest each time we play Scotland it is always a tough game so we have to go into this game expecting it to be very hard. You know the last occasions we have played them, one was at Bolton where we narrowly beat them one nil and we played them in the Algarve and won 3-1. You should ask the players, they are usually very tough physical games and will not be an easy contest. I think it is all that Scotland-England rivalry which sets it apart from many games which we play. I think it will be a tough contest, they will be physical and they truly believe they can beat us – and why shouldn’t they. So really we can’t go into that game underestimating them and we have to respect the fact that they have gained a lot of ground and I think they will be looking to prove a point on Thursday so I wouldn’t want to do them any kind of disservice or underestimate them in any way. If we underestimate them we’ll end up in trouble."
Many of the English team played alongside Scotland's captain Julie Fleeting in the suspended women's league in America, WUSA. There is still hope of the game being revitalised in the USA as Kelly Smith explained: "It is a shame that the league has been suspended, and I don’t think that it is good for the women’s game at all that it has happened because if there is going to be a pro league anywhere it is going to be in the states. That hasn’t affected my mindset for the game at all. I had an email recently from the lawyer of the league who has formed a committee to try and get the league running next year so they are all hopeful. They have meetings the next couple of weeks with sponsors so the players should know by the end of this month if the league will run next year. Knowing that we play Scotland on Thursday has been a big boost, and as Hope said the rivalry; we don’t want to lose to Scotland so I’ve been working hard on my fitness since the Russian game. I hope to get selected in the eleven. I played 45 minutes against Russia and felt good so we’ll see."