England: Sarina Wiegman expects tough Scotland test despite Olympics qualifying quirk

England: Sarina Wiegman expects tough Scotland test despite Olympics qualifying quirk

Sarina Wiegman hopes the Lionesses “go wild” in attack as they seek to keep their Olympic hopes alive by thrashing Scotland at Hampden Park on Tuesday.

England are the nominated team for Team GB’s Olympic Games qualification hopes in women’s football, and so a bizarre set of circumstances mean Scotland’s players would kill their hopes of playing at next summer’s tournament if they beat England.

Group leaders the Netherlands — who lost to England last week despite leading 2-0 at half-time — host Belgium on Tuesday and can top Group A1, and qualify for February's Nations League Finals, by matching England's result against the Auld Enemy.

England must reach the February Finals and then need to finish in the top two (or top three if France finish above them) in order to qualify for the Paris Olympics.

Sarina Wiegman addressing the media on Monday (PA)
Sarina Wiegman addressing the media on Monday (PA)

“I hope they go wild from the first minute”, said Wiegman. “But you don’t want to get erratic. We want to get a lot of players up front but stay calm and score as a team — and don’t concede any. Let’s create lots of chances and score.

“We want to try to go and attack. We want to keep the nil and go for the attack, and be aware if we lose the ball to regain it as quickly as possible.”

Wiegman was asked about the integrity of the tournament, given that Scottish players will only have the chance to compete for Team GB if they lose to England.

She said: “I understand the conversations about it, but if you have seen our group, and seen Scotland, and know the history of Scotland-England, then there is no way they are going to give away this game. They really want to beat England, and we want to beat Scotland. There’s such a rivalry, so that’s absolutely not going to be the case.

“Everyone is ready. We have one training session after this. Every player knows what’s necessary and every player will be ready. Of course, we start with 11. If it’s necessary to bring in another player, we will do, and she will deliver.”

Midfielder Keira Walsh said: “Nobody is questioning the professionalism of this game. We both want to win, and I don’t think they will be thinking of anything else. For us this Nations League has been really exciting. Hopefully we can get to another Olympics, but it’s going to be difficult to do that.”