Team spirit will be the key to success for Scotland at this summer’s Women’s World Cup in France, according to experienced midfielder Jo Love.
Scotland’s players have already made history by becoming the first women’s team in the nation’s history to make it to the finals of the major tournament, following on from their first appearance at the European Championships two years ago.
And Love, who has amassed 191 caps for her country, believes the squad have an unrivalled team dynamic.
Talking to Yahoo Sport, the 33-year-old explained: “The current group of players is probably the closest group that I have played in for a long time, we have been for the majority of Scotland boss, Shelley Kerr’s reign.
“Having that time together and being able to pick up on people’s strengths and weaknesses is always really important. The dynamic of the team is second to none, we all get on, we all get along which is lucky since we spend a lot of time together.”
Scotland won their final warm up game against Jamaica at Hampden Park last night, winning 3-2 in front of a record crowd of 18,555 people. The fixture follows a friendly wins over Brazil and a draw against Chile, both in April, perfect preparation ahead of their opening World Cup group game against one of the favourites, England.
Love has been pleased with the team’s preparations leading up to the tournament, and has seen a change in the set up of the Scotland team since manager Shelley Kerr took charge, but also in the women’s game over the course of her career.
She added: “The women’s game has changed since I made my debut. I think more so in the physical side of the game. It’s definitely much more demanding now. There’s a lot of effort that goes on off the pitch rather than on it.
“We get a lot of support in the background, and we are always working on fitness or strength and conditioning.
“I have had to change my game quite a lot, especially now that age is a factor. I try to use my energy a bit more wisely now, when I first started off I think I was able to run a bit faster, a bit freer, but age catches up with you. I try to use my head a bit more in the game now and read situations before they actually happen.
“Shelley Kerr is a great manager. We used to play with each other at a number of football clubs when we were younger so it has been a bit of a transition from me going to a playing capacity with her to have her manage me now.
“She knows her stuff, she’s learned through the years that I have played football with her as well. She’s great, technically and tactically she knows the game inside out and she always wants to learn so she is someone to take us forward.”
Love needs just 12 caps to match the 203 appearances accumulated by former Scotland goalkeeper Gemma Fay who holds the record number of caps for a Scottish player. But a humble Love is not looking to break the record and is setting her sights on enjoying the remainder of her career.
The Glasgow City midfielder said: “For the rest of my playing career I’m just looking to play well and play consistently. There comes a time in life where football will no longer be the focus, but for now I am looking to focus completely on football.
“Having time off my employment to actually be able to fully do that has really helped. So I think after football I will probably just focus on work and try to be normal.
“If I was to break the number of caps for a Scottish player, it would be nice, it is certainly not my focus at the current time, I’m just looking to play as much as I can. Gemma Fay was a great ambassador for the game and if I was able to overtake her in the record number of caps then all good and well it’s not a focus right now.”
Scotland take on their fiercest rivals England in their first game of the Women’s World Cup.
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