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Scotland 'will only get better' in World Cup bid – Pedro Martinez Losa

Scotland's Jen Beattie and Spain's Ona Batlle during a FIFA Women's World Cup UEFA qualifiers Group Stage match between Scotland and Spain at Hampden Park
Scotland were far more competitive against Spain than in the reverse fixture

Scotland will “only get better” in their bid to reach the 2023 Women’s World Cup, says head coach Pedro Martinez Losa.

Scotland put in a much-improved performance but still lost 2-0 to Spain in qualifying for next summer’s tournament.

Martinez Losa’s side were better at Hampden having received an 8-0 drubbing in Seville in November.

“We improved little details,” the Scotland boss said.

  • Improved Scotland edged out by Spain

“We had time to work more with the individual players, prepare for the opponents and make sure the girls understood what it is to compete at the highest level

“The new progress of the women’s game is bringing us to a new level of excellence.”

Much-needed performance

After the hammering in Seville was followed up by a disappointing Pinatar Cup campaign, early progress under Martinez Losa was fading from memory as Scotland also needed last-minute goals against Hungary and Ukraine in qualifying.

Then, the squad hit out at the Scottish FA for what they feel is inequality in resources provided to them compared to the men’s team in the build-up to the Spain match.

It all added up to a cloud around the national side, but their positive performance against one of the world’s very best sides in front of a crowd of 7,804 at Hampden, a competitive record for a Scotland women’s match, boosts morale at a crucial stage.

Ultimately, the off-field issues raised by the players do not disappear with just performances and results, and on the pitch they need to win matches against Ukraine and the Faroe Islands to reach the play-offs, but a good performance was important to raise spirits.

“It’s about the result of course, but also it’s about the big picture,” Martinez Losa added.

“The fact we are disappointed today with a 2-0 loss means something. Everything takes time, it’s a process, but I think this group made a big step in terms of their confidence and it proves what we can do.”

‘We’re making steps in right direction’

Defender Sophie Howard, who put in a superb display alongside Rachel Corsie in defence, said the squad were able to transfer their work in training to the pitch, and make a “step in the right direction”.

“They were rattled at times because they couldn’t deal with our aggression,” the Leicester City player told BBC Scotland. “That’s who we are and what Scotland is.

“Immediately after the game in Spain we knew that couldn’t happen again and it wasn’t going to happen again.

“The fact we’re disappointed with the result shows we’re making massive steps in the right direction. The biggest thing for us is we didn’t want to get embarrassed and the performance showed we were ready.”

‘Scotland need to back up positives with results’

Former Scotland striker Julie Fleeting on BBC Radio Scotland

Before the game, I was a bit concerned and felt like we had taken a couple of steps back. The last few games we had I felt like we hadn’t developed enough. The quality of players we do have, it was concerning me that we weren’t able to transfer it to the pitch.

But we witnessed a different side. It was really encouraging that we seem to have the confidence back in the group. We didn’t fear Spain, we were able to get in their faces and stop them from playing, which is a big ask against a side who’ve dominated women’s football for the last year and a half.

Former Scotland striker Steven Thompson on BBC Radio Scotland

It was night and day from the game against Spain last time. But the fact is we’ve still lost 2-0 and not had a shot on target and had 29% possession. But the caveat is you’re playing against one of the best teams in the world, the favourites for the Euros.

What they need to do is take the positives they’ve talked about and develop them in next games and start to get results. It’s fine saying things are improving – and we did see signs of that – but you’ve got to carry that on with similar performances, and ultimately results.

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