Could improved Scotland scupper Team GB chances?

2 months ago 71
Scotland impressed despite defeat by England in their opening Nations League gameScotland impressed despite defeat by England in their opening Nations League game
Venue: Hampden Park, Glasgow Date: Tuesday 5 December Time: 19:45 GMT
Coverage: Watch BBC One coverage, listen to commentary on BBC Sounds, and follow live on the BBC Sport website and app.

It's all going to be a bit awkward at Hampden on Tuesday.

If any Scotland players have hopes of featuring at the Paris Olympics next summer, it's likely that they will need to be beaten, and potentially beaten heavily, by England.

As the nominated home nation, England must reach the Women's Nations League final, or finish third if France make the final, for Team GB to qualifying for the 2024 Games.

To progress in the tournament, England must overtake the Netherlands to win Group A1. Those two are locked on nine points, with the Dutch finishing at home to Belgium. England trail by three in the goal difference column.

Scotland are already consigned to last place in group and relegation.

But if you think a Scotland side who only have pride to play for will lie down to the Auld Enemy for the greater good, then think again.

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It's been a campaign of sucker-punches and near things for Pedro Martinez Losa's side, who have one last chance to leave a mark on League A.

They will not want to bow out on a bum note against the reigning European champions.

Any encounter between the nations has that added edge and Scotland will be out for revenge after a 2-1 loss in Sunderland on matchday one.

It was a performance that made people sit up. Scotland had the World Cup finalists rattled on their own turf.

If only Christy's Grimshaw's effort dipped. If only Martha Thomas was awarded a penalty. If only Scotland had left the Stadium of Light with something to show for their impressive display.

Heading home with nothing halted a chugging Scotland train. One that has not quite looked like getting back on the tracks until Friday's 1-1 draw away to Belgium.

England have hope but Scotland have heart

Can Scotland finish on a high? There were certainly signs of that in Leuven.

Scotland had their swagger back. The one which was evident in the second half against the Lionesses. More confidence in their play despite still looking a little out of sorts in front of goal.

Erin Cuthbert had the former in abundance when she audaciously stunned the Den Dreef Stadium into silence with her sublime strike. Just sheer class.

Perhaps the pressure of the not impossible, but improbable, chance of maintaining their League A status allowed the shackles to come off. They will be entirely freed of them come Tuesday.

And that's where Scotland can spoil the party. A party they're kind of part of.

England have it all to do. They carry the hopes of Great Britain on their shoulders. Scotland have 90 minutes to get one up on their neighbours.

That's all they are thinking about, too.

Following the draw with Belgium, downhearted captain Rachel Corsie attempted to channel all she had left to give after a gut-busting performance.

"We're competitive," she said. "We want to win a lot more often than we are at the moment. That's a tough feeling but it's one that we're in together.

"We'll pick ourselves up and look forward to Tuesday because it's an opportunity to play against a really good team."

England are a really good team. They put on an outstanding show of resilience to claw back their way back from 2-0 down to beat the Netherlands at Wembley.

They have hope heading into Tuesday, but Scotland have heart.

Ripping up the blue - red and white - print will not faze Scotland one iota. This is a group yearning for tangible evidence of their efforts.

They will fight all the way for that, even if it means falling out of favour with a few pals with Olympic dreams.

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