This week, Alex Scott talks about the Gunners’ preparations for Thursday’s European showdown, the disappointment of being held to a draw by France and her views on racism in football...
The season may have finished, but you wouldn’t know it from how busy I’ve been.
After last week’s whirlwind trip to Los Angeles, I was in Paris last weekend playing for England in a friendly against France.
It was our last match of the year and we put in a great performance, even if we were all gutted to draw 2-2 with them after having lead 2-0.
France are ranked fifth in the world, three places above us, and they’re a side I rate highly.
To get any result against them is an achievement, but it’s always a bummer to draw after you’ve had a commanding lead.
Silly mistakes on our part lead to both their goals too, which only adds to the frustration.
I feel like we gave them two goals instead of them earning them. If that had been in a tournament, it could have been another missed opportunity and at the very least we would have found ourselves playing extra time.
Still, our head coach Hope Powell was able to test out some young players and overall we have to take the match as a positive experience.
Euro 2013, which is being held in Sweden, isn’t that far off and performances like these show us that we can be contenders.
Back at Arsenal, we have two massive matches coming up in the Champions League.
We’re through to the last 16 of the competition where we’ll play German side FFC Turbine Potsdam.
The first leg is next Thursday at Boreham Wood, with the return in Germany the following Wednesday.
Potsdam are one of the best teams in Europe and it’s safe to say that we would rather have played them later in the competition. They’re big, strong and physical, and we’re expecting two tough games.
Still, if we want to win the trophy these are the kinds of teams we’ll need to beat, so it doesn’t really matter if we play them now or at a later stage.
With the domestic season having finished, we’ll have more time for our preparations so we should be in good condition for both games.
We’re also hoping that there will be a good crowd to cheer us on in the home leg, especially with under-16s getting in free as it’s half-term.
On another subject, it’s been sad to see racism in football in the news so much over the last week.
As I’ve said before, racism is not something I’ve ever experienced as a footballer, so it’s difficult to know what I would do if I was in the same situation as the England
U21s when they suffered abuse in Serbia.
Racism simply doesn’t seem to be an issue in the women’s game. The crowds we get are very family oriented and there are a lot of young children too. People come to support their team, but I can honestly I’ve never heard any abuse, racist or otherwise.
We just seem to get a very different fanbase from the men’s game.
I’ve seen that Kick It Out have come in for criticism from some of the men’s players.
While I can see both sides of the story, I know Kick It Out have done a lot of positive work and I can’t see how boycotting them will help the situation.
Setting up a black players’ union doesn’t seem like a good idea either — to me it’s surely a case of the more people who are involved in fighting racism the better the eventual outcome will be.
That must be the way forward.
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