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Scarratt plays down favourites tag

England centre Emily Scarratt expects the Red Rose to finally shed the label of Women's World Cup bridesmaids on Sunday evening.

Scarratt was part of the side which lost the World Cup final at home four years ago - the third successive time England had fallen at the final hurdle to New Zealand.

But New Zealand's failure to make the last four this time has opened the door for England and Canada to contest the final before a 20,000 sell-out crowd at the Stade Jean-Bouin in Paris.

The two sides shared a 13-13 draw in the group stages but Scarratt insists England - who have waited 20 years for a World Cup triumph - have learned their lessons from that hard-fought encounter.

"I understand why people are saying that we are favourites, but I feel we are going into this game as equals," Scarratt told Press Association Sport.

"We both came through our group to win our semi-finals and it's going to be a real test on Sunday.

"Favourites or no favourites, we have to go out and perform and use the skills that our players have got.

"I think our execution can make the difference. If we execute our skills properly, build a platform and keep our heads clear then I believe we can win."

England suffered a 13-10 final defeat at the Twickenham Stoop in 2010 but Scarratt insists there is a different mind-set in the camp four years on.

"It's a different feeling to 2010 when we were playing at home and there was a lot of pressure on us to make the final," Scarratt, 24, said.

"It was a relief getting to that final, but now it's not job done just getting to the final.

"There's a lot of players left from 2010, maybe about 10 or 11, and for some of the girls it's their third tournament.

"It's different this time and you can feel the excitement seeping through from outside.

"But we are in a little bubble out here and the only real pressure we put on ourselves is to be lifting that World Cup trophy.

"We feel it's our time because we have the experience and knowledge, but you've still got to go out there and perform.

"We didn't really perform in the group game with Canada and we've got rectify that.

"We did not play well enough to deserve to win the game but we did not deserve to lose it either.

"But that's the huge thing we'll take from the game - we'll remember the mistakes we made and make sure that it does not happen again."

Lichfield Ladies goal-kicker Scarratt could have a huge responsibility come Sunday but plans to take it all in her stride.

"Of course, you always have that dream to kick the winning penalty but not in the reality of the tournament," she said.

"We are aware of the history of the last 20 years but it is not a pressure.

"There is a real desire and work ethic that has gone into this and it will be huge for the women's game in England.

"We went so close four years ago and we saw the benefits, so to get that massive prize of being world champions would give women in England even greater aspiration to play the game."


From Belfast Telegraph