ARSENAL central defender Jen Beattie says it is imperative Scotland qualify for next year's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand after missing out on the recent Euros in England. The host side won the tournament, sparking a huge surge of interest in women's football south of the border.
Beattie's club attracted a WSL record crowd of 47,367 for last month's North London derby against Tottenham at the Emirates and season ticket sales at most clubs are on the rise. “It has been incredible,” the 31-year-old confirmed.
“We were always talking about the momentum coming into the WSL and how clubs were going to take advantage of the exposure England winning the Euros would give the league.”
Beattie missed Euro 2017 through injury, but played in all three group matches at the 2019 World Cup in France. The prospects of making back-to-back tournament qualifications now depend on winning through the upcoming play-offs.
Scotland play Austria at Hampden on Thursday night, with the winner going on to host the Republic of Ireland on Tuesday and the losing side being eliminated. Unlike Scotland, the Austrians did qualify for the recent Euros, reaching the quarter finals where they were beaten 2-0 by Germany.
Two of Beattie's Arsenal team-mates, goalkeeper Manuela Zinsberger and defender Laura Wienroither, are expected to be in the Austria line-up. Most of the first choice players are with clubs in the German women's Bundesliga.
While 31-year-old Beattie has amassed 142 Scotland caps and scored in last month's final World Cup qualifier in the Faroe Islands, she has stayed on the bench for all four of Arsenal's competitive games this season. But while her lack of minutes has to be a concern for Scotland head coach Pedro Martinez Losa, Beattie says she remains happy at the club and willing to fight for a starting place.