England midfielder Jill Scott has praised Lionesses captain Steph Houghton in the wake of her missed penalty during Tuesday night's Women's World Cup semi-final defeat against the USA.
After USA goals from Christen Press and Alex Morgan either side of an Ellen White strike for England, and a disallowed offside goal, a late spot kick awarded following a VAR review handed Houghton the chance to equalise and potentially force the contest to extra-time.
Unfortunately for the England skipper, Alyssa Naeher in the American goal was equal to the low struck effort and preserved the U.S. lead, which ultimately proved decisive.
White, who has explained why she wasn't the one taking the penalty, stated afterwards that there is 'no blame' in this England team, with Scott insisting that the Lionesses wouldn't have even made it to the last four without Houghton leading them.
"[Steph] leads this team so well and when moments like that happen come along it probably goes on your captain, and rightly so, she's a fantastic penalty taker," Scott told 90min's Ben Haines.
"But that's sport, there's high and lows. You can't have a career that's just constant highs.
Ellen White you’ve been magnificent! @FIFAWWC owes a lot to her & the specs.— Ben Haines (@benhainess) July 2, 2019
Love everything about the way she played, how clinical she’s been, how she’s been one of us fans on the pitch & how fabulous she has been with the media off it.@ellsbells89pic.twitter.com/35dEzlPNdL
"She's been fantastic. We wouldn't even be in this semi final without her and, for me, she just keeps getting better and better with age. It's a moment that I'm sure will hurt, but I don't think we'd be here without her so she can hold her head high."
Reflecting on England's tournament as a whole, Scott, at the fourth World Cup of her fine career, is proud of what the team has achieved, even if it fell slightly short of their target.
"Once the emotion has gone out of it, I think we can be very proud that three tournaments in a row we've taken this team to a semi final and I don't think many can say they've done that," she said.
"We're athletes and we'll pick ourselves up, we'll train hard and we know there's a medal up for grabs on Saturday," Scott added, referring to the upcoming third/fourth place playoff in Nice.
"We can guarantee to the people at home we'll be giving our all for that game and we'll be coming back with something because it's been a fantastic journey and I'm just gutted that we couldn't end it on a high."