Jill Scott column: 'I'm ready to make Olympic football history'

At nine on Monday morning I took a call telling me I would be selected for the first Great Britain women's football squad in Olympic history.

I was sworn to secrecy until Tuesday when the news was made official - although I did tell my mum because I knew she wouldn't tell anyone - and now I can say I'm over the moon to be part of Team GB.

It is difficult to put into words to be honest. My focus has been on England, with two massive Euro 2013 qualifiers last week, but now they are out of the way we can all finally get excited about London 2012.

The added pressure is that our opening game against New Zealand at the Millennium Stadium will actually be the first event of the whole Olympics, even before the opening ceremony.

Team GB group opponents - women

New Zealand

How they qualified: The Football Ferns beat Papua New Guinea 15-0 over two legs in the Oceania Women's Olympic Qualifier Final

One to watch: Amber Hearn

Cameroon

How they qualified: Beat Nigeria on penalties to become one of two teams qualifying from the CAF group along with South Africa.

One to watch: Francoise Josephine Bella

Brazil

How they qualified: Won the Women's South American Tournament with a round to spare when beating Colombia 5-0

One to watch: Marta

But having beaten them 2-1 at last year's World Cup, a match in which I managed to score, we will be getting some good sessions in and aiming to get the win to kick-start our tournament.

Brazil will be our toughest test for sure, as they have the world's best player - Marta - in their ranks, while Cameroon will be a bit of an unknown quantity, but I'm confident we will get out of our group and give the fans something to cheer about.

With the Olympics being in London it's a massive opportunity for women's football to get the publicity it deserves and needs, but we all realise that comes from good performances so it will be one of our main aims.

It is fantastic news that Arsenal striker Kelly Smith has overcome her injury to make the squad, as she is one of the best players in the world and has been for the last 10 years.

She will be joined by Scotland's Kim Little and Ifeoma Dieke, who are the only two non-English players in the squad and I know Kim will be a great addition. She has an amazing goalscoring record for Arsenal, and overall, the squad has a lot of experience in it.

Great Britain head coach Hope Powell said she picked her squad on ability alone and said it was a tough decision. With the depth of players being so strong, any player on the shortlist of 35 could have made the squad.

So I'm just happy to make it and feel for the girls who weren't selected because I know they have been working hard.

The Team GB squad

  • Eniola Aluko, Anita Asante, Karen Bardsley, Sophie Bradley, Rachel Brown, Karen Carney, Ifeoma Dieke, Stephanie Houghton, Kim Little, Claire Rafferty, Alex Scott, Jill Scott, Kelly Smith, Casey Stoney, Fara Williams, Rachel Williams, Ellen White, Rachel Yankey.
  • Reserves: Jess Clarke, Emma Higgins, Jane Ross, Dunia Susi.

The good news for me this week comes after a manic time last week where the England team took a giant step toward the European Championship in Sweden next summer.

We earned a huge victory over the Netherlands and then we beat Slovenia 4-0, which means that if we defeat Croatia in our final game in September we will have qualified for Euro 2013.

The win over the Dutch - who were the group leaders before the match - was a tremendous result and a massive relief but I had a mad rush back from Slovenia to play for Everton two days later in the Women's Super League.

We landed at seven in the evening on the Friday and then played at six the next day in Bristol, and I think I'm still recovering from that one!

But I'm not complaining. I love playing football anyway, and one of the messages Hope has been telling us is not to let this period, with so many big tournaments, pass us by.

It seems surreal that the World Cup was a year ago now, and with the Olympics and potentially the Euros next summer to come, the stage is only set to get bigger.

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