Heartbreak for Lionesses as Olympic dream dies despite 6-0 win over Scotland

England players are dejected after the Netherlands' 4-0 win over Belgium meant Team GB failed to qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympics

England’s dreams of qualifying for the Olympics on behalf of Team GB were shattered by two late Netherlands goals scored 600 miles away, as they missed out on topping their group on goal-difference despite hammering Scotland 6-0 at Hampden Park.

The Lionesses briefly thought they had done enough when Lucy Bronze headed in to score their sixth goal on 93 minutes, before Damaris Egurrola netted her second of two late goals in a 4-0 win over Belgium to break English hearts.

Sarina Wiegman’s squad, whose match finished momentarily earlier than her home country’s did, waited anxiously on the pitch before learning their fate. In their own game, though, they could scarcely have done more.

England's Beth Mead looks dejected
Beth Mead cannot hide her emotions as the result in the Netherlands meant England's thrashing of Scotland was not enough - PA/Jane Barlow

Knowing they needed to not only win the game but, if the Netherlands also won, to win by a margin of victory that was at least three goals greater than the Dutch’s winning margin, the Lionesses arrived at Hampden Park ready to hunt down as many goals as possible.

Their intent was signalled very clearly when, after an unmarked Alex Greenwood headed in the early opener from a Beth Mead corner, Lucy Bronze and Fran Kirby immediately pointed to the ball and told their team-mates to rush it back to the centre circle. No England players celebrated.

It would not take too long for the floodgates to open, despite Lauren Hemp inexplicably hitting the post from a glorious chance, just a few yards out. Chelsea’s Lauren James was fortunate to be aided by a huge deflection to double the lead from the edge of the box.

But her second goal, England’s third, just a minute later, was sublime as she picked out the far top corner with an angled strike. After each goal, England continued to race back to get the game restarted as quickly as possible.

The news from Tilburg was that the Netherlands were 1-0 up, but by half-time, England had propelled themselves to the top of the group as they went 4-0 up.

Arsenal forward Mead’s clinical finish from James’s pass gave the 2022 BBC Sports Personality of the Year her first international goal in 15 months, having spent a year out with an anterior cruciate knee ligament injury.

There was no let-up in the scoring after half-time, as Kirby found space in the six-yard box to slot home from a Georgia Stanway cross – 5-0 inside 49 minutes. It was all too easy.

This was an England team fixated on righting the wrongs of a previously frustrating Nations League campaign, combined with Scotland manager Pedro Martinez Losa’s fixation on playing three at the back. The Spanish former Arsenal Women manager stuck with the shape despite England continually getting far too much space in wide attacking areas.

Before the game, Scotland captain Rachel Corsie had dismissed suggestions that her team might not want to win as “outrageous” and “disrespectful”, and Wiegman  also said she knew there was “no way” Scotland would ever gift England victory. Any Scotland players with hopes of going to the Olympics with Team GB had needed England to win to keep their chances alive, with England designated as the home nation qualifying on GB’s behalf prior to the start of this campaign.

The situation was bizarre, but there is no perfect solution to the conundrum, and that is understood to be the view of organisers of this competition, too, with multiple sources pointing out that if these two sides had been kept in separate groups, and if they had each won their group, the same problem could have arisen in February’s semi-finals.

True to their word, Scotland kept fighting to the end. They hit the post late on, pressing for a consolation goal that would have spoilt England’s night, before Bronze completed England’s rout at the other end. The drama, however, was reaching a climax over in Wiegman’s homeland.

Match details

Scotland (3-4-1-2): Gibson 4; Corsie 5, Clark 4 (Howard 45), Mukandi 5 (Brown 45); McLauchlan 4 (Napier 45), Cuthbert 6, Kerr 6, Docherty 5; Evans 5; Hanson 6 (Harrison 79), Emslie 5 (Thomas 64). Booked Docherty. 
England (4-2-3-1): Earps 6; Bronze 7, Morgan 7, Greenwood 7, Charles 7; Stanway 6, Walsh 7; Mead 8 (Russo 65), Kirby 7 (Toone 65), James 8; Hemp 7. 
Referee: Ionela Alina Pesu (Romania). 
Attendance: 15,320.

England win but suffer Olympic heartbreak: As it happened . . .

10:13 PM GMT

Heartbreak for England – and Team GB

So England will not play in the Nations League semi-finals and, even more disappointingly, Team GB will not play in the Paris 2024 Olympics Games. The Lionnesses did all they could tonight but it was not to be. Heartbreaking, but they will come back stronger, no doubt.

10:02 PM GMT

From elation to devastation

Lucy Bronze looked elated after scoring England's sixth before learning of Team GB's fate - The FA/The FA

09:57 PM GMT

Beth Mead reacts

Devastated. We could everything we possibly could. Unfortunately it wasn’t in our hands. Credit to the Netherlands who got the four goals.

That’s football. Small margins. Late goals. It wasn’t meant to be.

It’s a tough one. The girls have worked really hard. The girls have worked really hard this camp but we let ourselves down earlier on in the competition.

09:55 PM GMT

The moment England discover GB won't be at the Olympics

England players react after hearing the Netherlands' result - Getty /Getty

09:52 PM GMT

The night belongs to the Netherlands

Amid the chaos earlier, a small clarification. The Netherlands actually scored just seconds before England’s sixth.

Damaris Egurrola celebrates Holland's third - Getty Images Europe/Getty Images Europe

09:45 PM GMT

How the night ends

The Netherlands, France, Germany and Spain are the four teams who qualify for the Nations League finals.

Devastation for England and Team GB, who won’t be at the Paris Games next summer.

09:42 PM GMT

Team GB's Olympic dream is over

We’re just hearing the Netherlands SCORED a fourth goal just as Bronze score England’s sixth! This is ludicrous. England scored six goals tonight and still couldn’t top their Nations League group. You couldn’t write it.

09:40 PM GMT

Nervy moments for England

Here’s Tom Garry from Hampden:

The England players are waiting - they’re not celebrating yet... All eyes on Tilburg...

09:39 PM GMT

FULL TIME Scotland 0 - 6 England

And that’s it! Bronze’s goal brings an end to the match.. the Lionesses have thrashed Scotland but you wouldn’t know it looking at their body language at full-time. It looks like they’ve heard the Dutch have just scored another.. tense times

09:37 PM GMT


From one end to the other.. Hemp finds herself on the edge of the area, lays it off to Toone, who arrows in an inch perfect pass and its Lucy Bronze who rushes in and thumps a header past Gibson! That goal could be absolutely crucial for England... as we’re hearing the Dutch have just grabbed a third goal against Belgium. What a dramatic finale to a one-sided match..

09:35 PM GMT

91 mins - Scotland 0 - 5 England

We’re almost into the final minute... there shouldn’t be too much injury time added on, as Morgan deals with a

Cuthbert tries a shot! But it’s blocked by Greenwood.. Scotland send it back in through Brown and it’s Napier with the header downwards and she draws  top class save from Earps, who gets down low to force the save. England granted a huge let off there by the Queen of Stops.

09:31 PM GMT

88 mins - Scotland 0 - 5 England

England win a free kick - it’s Stanway who’s fouled this time - and Greenwood sends the ball in. She’s been on the money with her deliveries tonight but this one is a real outswinger and there’s too much pace on it. Gibson safely gathers.

09:29 PM GMT

83 mins - Scotland 0 - 5 England

England like they’ve dropped the intensity a bit. Harrison has a pop at the front post, but it’s just wide. The hosts have definitely looked livelier this half but you feel those flurry of goals before the break just sucked the life out of them. Stanway gallops forward and the defenders seem to fall away from her. She’s in acres of space as she cuts inside and tees up a shot at goal, but it’s blocked.

09:24 PM GMT

81 mins - Scotland 0 - 5 England

The England fans at the far end celebrated that ‘goal’ a bit prematurely, they hadn’t seen that the referee had already blown for a foul. They are a long, long way from the action, though, because of the shape of this stadium, which accommodates a running track.

09:23 PM GMT

79 mins - Scotland 0 - 5 England

Lauren Hemp is fouled as she looks to create something down the right.. Greenwood lines up the ball but it comes to nothing. Abi Harrison is on for Hanson.. as Russo overruns the ball. She practically sprints back onto the pitch and attempts to toss the ball back to the goalkeeper for her goal kick. England are still sneaking through as it stands but aren’t resting on their laurels..

09:19 PM GMT

76 mins - Scotland 0 - 5 England

Another chance goes begging for England, Hemp cuts in floats in an enticing delivery towards Russo, who leaps into the air but doesn’t get enough control on her header..

09:18 PM GMT

74 mins - Scotland 0 - 5 England

Scotland’s biggest chance of the night falls to Kirsty Hanson. She does well to round Mary Earps - an empty net is in front of her - but she has to work a tight angle and in the end she shoots wide. Had she rolled the ball back to Thomas, who was waiting in the area, that’s a tap in and England might have had a panicked end to the night..

09:13 PM GMT

72 mins - Scotland 0- 5 England

Latest from Tom Garry:

This is not a matter of match fixing, but rather of an England team fixated on righting the wrongs of a previously frustrating Nations League campaign, combined with Scotland manager Pedro Martínez Losa’s strange fixation on playing three at the back. His team’s shape has given England’s wide forwards so much space tonight. Why on Earth hasn’t he done anything about it?

09:11 PM GMT

70 mins - Scotland 0- 5 England

Russo gets too much on her first shot - it’s well off target - and flies over the bar. A reminder that England are still living dangerously here, if the Netherlands grab a third then England will definitely need a sixth.

09:10 PM GMT

67 mins - Scotland 0- 5 England

Martha Thomas delivers a decent ball into the box but England deal with it effectively... but Scotland have a free kick about five metres outside the area after James is penalised for a high boot. Cuthbert sends in a deep ball - it’s a difficult one for England to deal with - but they eventually get a grip on things when Earps scoops up a tame downwards volley.

09:07 PM GMT

63 mins - Scotland 0- 5 England

England are enjoying a patient spell of possession, they’re bobbing the ball around nicely ad trying to work another opportunity, in pursuit of a sixth. Wiegman is preparing to bring three new faces on.. it’s Ella Toone and Alessia Russo coming on for Kirby and Mead.

09:04 PM GMT

60 mins - Scotland 0- 5 England

James is fouled on the edge of the area and the Lionesses have a free kick in a very good position. Erin Cuthbert is the offender. Her lunge is probably down to frustration more than anything else. Greenwood and Mead gather around the ball... it’s Greenwood who hits it - it’s a fine curling effort over the wall - but Gibson gets a glove to it and Scotland clear.

09:01 PM GMT

57 mins - Scotland 0- 5 England

England are not lying down - they’re looking to add to their goal-fest here and nearly do.. but Hemp hits the post again! It’s a bit chaotic in the area as the ball falls to James - who is on a hattrick - she sees her shot blocked but Hemp is alert to the rebound.

News from Tilberg - the Netherlands have scored again! They’re leading 2-0 against Belgium but England don’t need to panic yet, they’re still top of their group on goal difference, for now..

08:58 PM GMT

53 mins - Scotland 0- 5 England

The Lionesses are in total cruise control. They came into this one surrounded by a lot of noise about but they’ve gone about this game in business-like fashion.

08:53 PM GMT


England have five and are flying. Georgia Stanway goes on a run down the right wing - she doesn’t look like she’s going to inflict any damage - but she persists and, driving into the area, just about nips in a low ball. Again, it’s terrible defending from Scotland. Out of nowhere, Kirby, unmarked, appears on the scene and turns the ball into the net. It’s too easy.

08:50 PM GMT

49 mins - Scotland 0 - 4 England

Napier, one of the subs who is on, is looking to make an impact. She’s already had a few decent touches and tries a low, long range shots, which is saved easily by Earps.

08:49 PM GMT

46 mins - Scotland 0 - 4 England

Scotland make a triple change at the break. Emma Mukandi, Rachel McLauchlan and Jenna Clark are all off and Sophie Howard, Fiona Brown and Jamie-Lee Napier are on.

As it stands, England are topping the group and will go through to the finals in February.

08:45 PM GMT

England complete a first half demolition job

Beth Mead - Ian MacNicol /FA

08:33 PM GMT

Half time: Scotland 0 - 4 England

Wow. The atmosphere amongst the home fans here is so flat, now. They must fear now they’ve come to witness a demolition. The England fans, meanwhile, can scarcely contain themselves.

08:33 PM GMT


Beth Mead receives the ball from James deep inside the penalty area - she’s given way too much time and space - and in the end it’s a simple finish for the Arsenal forward, who scores her first England goal in over a year. She brings the ball down perfectly, nudges it away from the defender and blasts it into the goal.

As it stands, England are going through to the Nations League finals! And that’s the last action for the half. England are four up and if anything look like they’re going to score more after the break.

08:30 PM GMT

40 mins Scotland 0 - 3 England

Scotland look shell shocked after that quick-fire double from James. That’s really set England on their way to securing Team GB’s Olympic qualification they so desperately want.

08:26 PM GMT


It’s two goals in two minutes for the Lionesses! It’s as if England have heard the news about the Dutch.. they pour forward again and this time it’s Niamh Charles who overlaps on the edge of the area before laying the ball back inside to James. The Chelsea forward has all the time in the world to tee up her shot and curve it away from the keeper and it flies into the goal..

08:24 PM GMT


Beth Mead - who is everywhere - sends in a cross but Scottish bodies are in the way and block any danger.. the ball falls to James and she has a go.. her shot is wildly deflected but it falls into the net!

08:22 PM GMT

34 mins Scotland 0 - 1 England

... the Netherlands have gone 1-0 up against Belgium. Which is bad new for England - they currently sit second in the group and if things stay that way, Team GB won’t be in Paris. They essentially need to score three or more goals now or hope Belgium do them a favour.

08:16 PM GMT


How did she miss that? England are enjoying a dominant spell and launch another attack. Lauren James takes up the ball and drives into the box, sucks a few defenders in, before squaring the ball to Hemp, who is unmarked and in acres of space. She almost swipes tamely at the ball - it’s more like a pass towards the goal - and it fizzes into the post. England should be two up.

08:14 PM GMT

27 mins Scotland 0 - 1 England

What a chance for England! Beth Mead drifts into the box - her run is spotted by Walsh - who floats in an almost pin-perfect ball.. it’s slightly in front of the Arsenal striker and she can’t quite stick her foot on the end of it. Scotland are being outfoxed defensively.

08:12 PM GMT

Update from Tom Garry

Scotland manager Pedro Martínez Losa is moaning at the fourth official, and has been doing so a lot in the past 10 minutes. I sense he felt Beth Mead should have been booked for her foul on Kirsty Hanson, and that Scotland should have had a penalty. He’s not happy!

08:11 PM GMT

23 mins Scotland 0 - 1 England

Scotland drive forward through McLauchlan, who whips in what I think is supposed to be a cross but it arcs dangerously close to Mary Earps’ goal and the goalkeeper gets a glove to it and pushes the ball over the bar. Scotland corner - but it’s a poor delivery and England clear their lines easily. They pour forward - again through Bronze this time down the left - before the ball falls into Lauren Hemp’s path. It’s an awkward first touch and Scotland look to intercept but give away a free-kick. Beth Mead sends in an inviting ball but there’s no white shirt on the end of it..

08:07 PM GMT

15 mins Scotland 0 - 1 England

England have really jolted into life after grabbing that opener - James and Kirby are drifting into central areas - but Scotland are on high alert after that nightmare defensive showing that allowed Greenwood that free header. The hosts regain possession but there’s a poorly timed challenge from Mead on Kirsty Hanson, who wins a free kick. Scotland need to show a bit more patience and composure when they’re on the ball - they haven’t enjoyed a sustained period of pressure in England’s half yet. The Lionesses, by contrast, look settled and in control.

08:00 PM GMT

12 mins GOAL!

It’s Alex Greenwood who gives England the lead! Beth Mead sends in a sumptuous corner and Greenwood is completely unmarked in the penalty area. That was a complete gift for the Lionesses. The celebrations are muted - Greenwood barely acknowledges she’s scored - instead racing back up the pitch towards the center circle with her teammates. England know they have a job to do.

07:57 PM GMT

10 mins - Scotland 0 - 0 England

Lucy Bronze comes forward with the ball again - she’s seen a space and trying to exploit it - but can’t thread the ball through to the box and England have another corner.

07:54 PM GMT

8 mins - Scotland 0 - 0 England

The Lionesses enjoy a positive attacking spell on the ball but Fran Kirby is snuffed out just as the Chelsea striker enters the penalty area. Esme Morgan, on her first competitive start for England, launches a huge pass to Alex Greenwood up front and she lays it off to Lauren James, but the striker watches her strike deflect and out for a corner..

07:49 PM GMT

4 mins - Scotland 0 - 0 England

Both of England’s fullbacks have started quite high up the pitch - the same happened when they staged their comeback against the Netherlands last week. Lucy Bronze wins an early free-kick after a handball from McLauchlan but Alex Greenwood’s kick sails over everyone’s heads and out. Scotland launch their own high press and for a moment England look a bit shaky at the back, before Bronze draws another foul.. again from McLauchlan.

07:45 PM GMT

Scotland 0 - 0 England

Both sets of players take the knee before the whistle blows and we’re underway.

07:41 PM GMT

A decent crowd on a schoolnight

There are around 2,000 England fans off to my left, in the away end, and they’ve draped the cross of St George across the bottom advertising boards to make their presence known. The overall attendance is going to be relatively low, though, with only around 14 or 15,000 tickets sold. Perhaps the fact that Scotland know they are already relegated is a factor behind that, as well as the bitter cold weather here and the fact it’s a Tuesday night, which is hardly perfect for families. Nonetheless, it’s a bit disappointing after the 70,000 turnout at Wembley on Friday by comparison.

07:40 PM GMT

Five minutes until KO

Both teams walk out at Hampden Park and it’s national anthem time..

07:25 PM GMT

How can Team GB keep their Olympic hopes alive?

It’s all a bit complicated - but here goes:

  • England need to beat Scotland tonight AND better the Netherlands’ result (the Dutch playing Belgium) to ensure they top their Nations League group.

  • If the Netherlands also win tonight, England MUST better their goal difference by at least a three-goal margin to finish top.

  • If that happens and the Lionesses win their group, they progress to the semi-finals of the Nations League, which take place in February.

  • England must progress to the Nations League final - or finish third if France also reach the final two - to qualify on behalf of Team GB for the Paris Olympics

07:10 PM GMT

Tom Garry: Scotland will be a tough test for the Lionesses

Our women’s football reporter is in position at Hampden Park

07:08 PM GMT

Scotland team news

Pedro Martínez Losa makes four changes to the side that drew 1-1 with Beligum last Friday.

Lee Gibson replaces Sandy MacIver in goal, while Aston Villa striker Kirsty Hanson, who scored against England in September, starts in place of Martha Thomas. London City Lionesses’ player Emma Mukandi and Rachel McLauchlan come in for Kirsty MacLean and Fiona Brown.

Scotland head coach Pedro Martinez Losa - CARL RECINE/Reuters

07:02 PM GMT

A huge night for England

Georgia Stanway starts in England's midfield - LEE SMITH/Reuters
Sarina Wiegman addresses her players on the Hampden Park pitch - Naomi Baker /The FA via Getty Images

06:56 PM GMT

Team line ups in full

Scotland: Gibson, Clark, Corsie, Docherty, McLauchlan, Kerr, Cuthbert, Mukandi, Emslie, Hanson, Evans.

Substitutes: Fife, MacIver, Howard, MacLean, Brown, Lauder, Hay, Rodgers, Harrison, Davidson, Thomas, Napier.

England: Earps, Bronze, Greenwood, Morgan, Charles, Stanway, Walsh, Kirby, Mead, Hemp, James.

Substitutes: Carter, Hampton, Toone, Wubben-Moy, Zelem, Kelly, Clinton, Daly, Le Tissier, Keating, Turner, Russo.

06:53 PM GMT

How England line up

Beth Mead makes her first England start since suffering a ACL injury in November last year. Chloe Kelly and Jess Carter, who both started in England’s 3-2 victory at Wembley last week, drop to the bench, with Esme Morgan named in the backline.

06:31 PM GMT

Conflict of interest hangs over showdown

Good evening and welcome to our live coverage of Scotland v England at Hampden Park, where the Lionesses must win to keep Team GB’s qualification hopes for next year’s Paris Olympics alive.

Sarina Wiegman’s side are second behind the Netherlands on goal difference in their Nations League group, despite coming from behind in a 3-2 win over the Dutch at Wembley last Friday.

That means England, who are the nominated nation to qualify for next year’s Games in Paris on behalf of Great Britain, must better the result of the Netherlands’ fixture with Belgium. If England and the Netherlands both win, the Lionesses would need to triumph by at least a three-goal margin greater than the Dutch.

Players from all four home nations are eligible to represent Team GB if England achieve qualification which some have pointed out undermines the integrity of the fixture.

Scotland, however, have dismissed suggestions they will ‘throw’ the game to England in order to help Team GB’s Olympic qualification prospects.

“Truthfully I think it’s so disrespectful,” said Rachel Corsie, the Scotland captain. “It’s absolutely outrageous to question anyone’s integrity and it’s a huge insult to us.

“In the history of our country and in sport, there’s a huge rivalry, and to get the chance to play them here at Hampden Park is one I know that everyone here is definitely relishing.”

Scotland manager Pedro Martínez also echoed that sentiment, saying: “What I don’t feel happy about at all is any questions of the integrity of the Scottish players. [I know] how much the players have pride to represent their nation. Our motivation is to beat England.”

Even if England are victorious tonight and top their Nations League group, their fight for Olympic qualification will not be over.