Scotland captain Rachel Corsie discusses her World Cup hopes
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It was never her childhood dream - for the simple reason that it just seemed too far-fetched. But Rachel Corsie will nevertheless have the honour of wearing the Scotland captain’s armband when they make their FIFA Women’s World Cup™ debut at France 2019.
“Interest across the country has grown massively since we qualified,” said a grateful Corsie. “My parents have had so many people coming up to them at their jobs and taking an interest, sharing in the excitement of it all. We know a lot of people are coming to support us. We don’t have much international experience aside from EURO 2017, but the World Cup’s going to be a lot more intense and it’ll be very exciting to be a part of it.”
Corsie will lead her side out against neighbours and rivals England in Scotland’s opening match in Nice on 9 June. Reflecting on what will be a historic and unforgettable debut, she said: “It’ll be a great match and one of the biggest in my life, without doubt. We know each other very well and a lot of our players play in the English league. It’ll be a great occasion, one to enjoy against colleagues and friends at the highest level. It’s going to be very exciting.”
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It did not even occur to Corsie to dream about such an occasion when she was young; that was something only the boys did. Scotland’s men last graced a senior World Cup at France 1998, when Corsie was only nine, an occasion she can recall: “I remember the match against Brazil and the penalty John [Collins] scored. It’s been too long, though, and it’s very exciting to lead your country back to an experience like that.”
To France and back again
Scotland’s women have travelled a long and hard road over the years. Having picked up where their unheralded predecessors left off, Corsie and her team-mates are about to complete the journey, with France now occupying a very special place in the collective Scottish imagination. There is no question, however, of Shelley Kerr’s players being satisfied with simply qualifying.
“We’re not putting any limits on ourselves, though it goes without saying that getting out of the group is our first objective,” said the skipper. “And I really believe we can do it. I know we’re in an extremely tough group with England, Japan and Argentina, but I think we’ve got a chance of making it to the last 16. It’s a realistic goal and we’re working as hard as we can to make it happen.”
Pointing out Scotland’s strengths and naming their key players, Corsie, who plays for NWSL outfit Utah Royals, said: “We’re a very close-knit side and we always fight for each other. We’ve got some very good players too. Kim Little is the best known. She’s had an incredible career and is undoubtedly one of the best players in the world. She deserves all the recognition she gets.
“We’ve also got a good number of young players who’ve really come on in the last few years, like Erin Cuthbert, Caroline Weir, Fiona Brown and Claire Emslie. They all play for top teams and they’ve all done really well. They adapt very well to the national team’s style of play and they’ll be a very powerful weapon for us.”
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Corsie has a UEFA B coaching licence, while several of her team-mates are in the process of doing likewise.
“Having players on the pitch who know our style of play so well just gives us a bit extra. Our coaches pass on a lot of information to us and we can go out and complement that on the pitch. Our job is to get the message across so the youngest players can understand and then execute it.”
Another part of her job as captain is to make sure the younger players feel part of the squad so that they can fulfil all their potential. “The most important thing for me, though, is being ready to give my very best, to lead by example,” she explained. “I’ve also got to get behind my team-mates, bring some positive energy, and motivate people so they can deliver.”
A great motivator, Corsie is all set to lead not just her side but her country by example. After all, the days when Scottish girls dreamed about other things than playing at the World Cup are well and truly over.