England have much to thank Jill Scott (above) for as they face up to the titanic task of ousting Canada in front of a partisan crowd at BC Place, Vancouver.
The Manchester City Ladies midfielder’s introduction with 54 minutes on the clock changed the course of the game in the Lionesses’ favour.
Scott’s arrival came directly after Norway had capitalised on their domination of proceedings by taking the lead courtesy of a Solveig Gulbrandson header.
Things had looked dire for England at that point, but Scott was able to chisel out space where Fran Kirby (the woman she had replaced) had not and her astute running instantly began to drag the side further up the field.
It was the Sunderland woman’s not-to-be-denied run down the right that earned the corner from which Steph Houghton headed them back into contention.
A quarter of an hour later full-back Lucy Bronze hammered the Lionesses into a lead they would not relinquish off a pass made possible by more composed ball retention from Scott.
In what is sure to be a drum-tight encounter with the entertainment-rationing hosts, her quality, whether from the bench or from the off is expected to make the difference.
The Canadians are 5/4 jollies for victory despite England’s better FIFA ranking, while Mark Sampson’s troops are 13/5 for the win with the draw at 90 minutes deemed more likely at 21/10.
Scoring has proven a problem for Canada throughout the tournament with no more than one notched in any of their four matches, which included a 0-0 draw with Group A bottom side New Zealand.
Keeping it tight has been the key to their progression, but they have yet to play on outfit of the Lionesses’ standing, with world 11th-ranked Holland their most fearsome foe in the mini leagues.
As a result England may just be able to chisel a result from their grasp in Vancouver, with Scott expected to play game changer again.
A 1-0 England success can be backed at 6/1.