Soccer-Wiegman expects Scotland to be up for England game despite Olympic dream


Soccer Football - UEFA Women's Nations League - Group A - England v Netherlands - Wembley Stadium, London, Britain - December 1, 2023 England manager Sarina Wiegman Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge/ File photo

GLASGOW, Scotland (Reuters) - England manager Sarina Wiegman is not expecting Scotland to roll over against her side in Tuesday's Women's Nations League game, as the result could have an impact on Britain's women's team playing at the Olympics next year.

The comments come after Netherlands manager Andries Jonker called the Lionesses' match at Hampden Park "strange" because of England needing to win for British footballers to have any chance of playing at the Paris Games.

"If you know the history of Scotland-England, then there's no way that (Scotland) are going to give away this game," Wiegman told reporters in Glasgow on Monday. "They really want to beat England. And we want to beat them, of course.

"So yes, there's such a rivalry that there's absolutely not going to be the case, we saw when we played in England. This is about fair play and about football."

England, representing Team GB's Olympic chances, must top the group to advance to the Nations League final four, with the finalists - or top three if Olympic hosts France make it through - securing Paris berths.

"For many years, Great Britain has participated in the Olympics as Great Britain. It's strange, but it's not going to change," Jonker said on Friday.

"... When the draw was made I said to the players the only thing we can do is keep this in our hands. Straight away, it was annoying, but it wasn't going to change."

The Lionesses kept their Olympic dreams alive with their thrilling come-from-behind 3-2 victory over the Netherlands on Friday at Wembley.

England and the Netherlands are level on nine points atop Group A1 and have identical head-to-head records, but the Dutch have a better goal difference of plus-four versus plus-one.

So, if both England and the Netherlands, who play Belgium on Tuesday, win those final group games, England must beat Scotland by three more goals than the Netherlands' scoreline. Otherwise the Lionesses have to hope they beat Scotland and the Dutch drop points against Belgium.

With goals so important on Tuesday, Wiegman was asked when in the match she would decide to throw everything at Scotland having narrowly beaten them 2-1 in their previous encounter.

"We always try to have an attacking start, we want to score goals and we don't want to concede any," she said. "We have to go out tomorrow and attack, and be wary that if we lose the ball we have to regain it as quickly as possible."

England midfielder Keira Walsh said goalkeeper Mary Earps was in good spirits. Earps had said she was "gutted" for "letting the team down" after the Netherlands' two easy goals Friday.

"Mary's saved us in so many situations, she's always been there in the big moments for us. So she really doesn't need to take that on herself," Walsh said.

"Even at breakfast this morning, she was making jokes about it, so I think she's in a good space and she knows what she has to do in the game (Tuesday) and Mary's delivered before, so I'm pretty sure she'll deliver again."

(Reporting by Lori Ewing; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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