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Sarina Wiegman: No chance Scotland will let England win to aid GB Olympic hopes

Sarina Wiegman’s England take on Scotland looking to claim top spot in Nations League Group A1 – and stay in contention to secure Olympic qualification for Great Britain (Steve Welsh/PA)
Sarina Wiegman’s England take on Scotland looking to claim top spot in Nations League Group A1 – and stay in contention to secure Olympic qualification for Great Britain (Steve Welsh/PA)

England boss Sarina Wiegman has stressed there is “no way” Scotland are going to “give away” the game when the sides meet at Hampden Park on Tuesday in their final Nations League group fixture.

The second-placed Lionesses may need a high-scoring win against the already-relegated Scots to claim top spot in the group, the finish required to keep Wiegman’s team in contention to secure Paris 2024 Olympic qualification for Great Britain.

With England success on that front the only way Scottish players will be able to play at the Games, Andries Jonker, head coach of group leaders the Netherlands, described the situation as “strange” after England’s 3-2 win over the Dutch at Wembley on Friday.

Wiegman told a press conference on Monday: “I understand the conversations about it.

“But if you have seen our group, seen Scotland and know the history of Scotland and England, then there’s no way that they are going to give away this game. They really want to beat England and we want to beat them, of course.

“There’s such a rivalry that that is absolutely not going to be the case. We saw it when we played in England (a 2-1 win for England in September).

“I don’t have the solution. This is the first time we’ve played the Nations League, and how are you going to solve this situation? Maybe you don’t want them in the same group, but then if Scotland topped another group, we topped one and we went into the finals, you’d have the same situation.

“It’s just about fair play, about football, and in football everyone wants to win, and we know the rivalry.

“We have professional players here who really want to show up – England players and Scottish players. I think it’s going to be a good game where everyone wants to perform at their highest level.”

England midfielder Keira Walsh said: “Nobody is questioning the professionalism of this game.

“They’ve got some top players, so do we and we both want to win. I don’t think it’s a case of they’ll be thinking about anything else, I think we both want to play a good game and hopefully win.”

While England and the Netherlands, each on nine points from five games, are locked on head to head record, the latter have a goal difference that is superior by three. The Dutch on Tuesday host a Belgium outfit who lie a point behind in third.

Wiegman said of her players: “You don’t want to be erratic. We want to be controlled, but we really want to play our best game and create chances, get a lot of players up front, but do the right things, make the right choices, stay calm at all moments and score as a team, and again then don’t concede any.

England’s Keira Walsh during a press conference at Hampden Park (Steve Welsh/PA)
Midfielder Keira Walsh joined Wiegman at Monday’s press conference (Steve Welsh/PA)

“Lets start, play a possession game, try to get in behind the defence, create lots of chances and score.”

England battled back to triumph on Friday after being 2-0 down at half-time, with the second Dutch goal coming when Mary Earps got a glove to Lineth Beerensteyn’s shot but could not stop it crossing the line.

Earps afterwards said she had “really let the team down”, something Wiegman then said was not the case.

Walsh added: “Mary has saved us in so many situations. For me, she’s always been there in the big moments for us, so she really doesn’t need to take that on herself.

“It has to go past 10 other players before it gets to her and I think there were numerous mistakes leading up to that one.

“She’s in good spirits now I think. Even at breakfast this morning she was making jokes about it. Mary’s delivered before so I’m pretty sure she will again.”