Netherlands 4-0 Scotland: Reaction from Nijmegen as Beerensteyn hands Scots reality check

A poor defensive display from Scotland Women saw their recent good run of form come to a grinding halt as Netherlands ran out 4-0 winners over Pedro Martinez Losa’s injury hit side in the UEFA Nations League.

When Scotland faced the Netherlands in a friendly back in September 2022, it took a last minute goal to hand the Dutch a 2-1 win on a blustery night in Zwolle. A largely positive performance against one of the world's top ranking sides, Scotland perhaps didn't deserve to lose that night.

However, as good as the display was, it felt all too rare having been sandwiched between defeats to Wales and the crushing 0-1 World Cup qualifying defeat to Republic Of Ireland. Fast forward 13 months and Pedro Martinez Losa's side are quite a different proposition on the international stage having lost just one of their last eight games.

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Beating Australia and going toe to toe with the Lionesses just last month, Scotland feel in a far healthier place than the last time they landed on Dutch soil, however, tonight’s performance in Nijmegen was proof of how far they still have to go.

To be fair to Martinez Losa’s side, Netherlands away would always prove a difficult one to navigate. Add in Scotland’s seemingly endless midfield injury crisis and the task felt all the more harder – and so it proved. Strikes from Daniëlle van de Donk, Esmee Brugts and a Lineth Beerensteyn brace handing the Dutch a comfortable win 4-0 win in Netherland’s oldest city.

Caroline Weir and the injury crisis

The devastating loss of Caroline Weir to an ACL injury in the 1-1 draw to Belgium last month showed how heavy Scotland rely on the Real Madrid's stars creativity as they struggled for inspiration throughout. However, when Erin Cuthbert, Sam Kerr and Emma Watson are also absent, Martinez Losa must have wondered if he had crossed a black cat recently.

Depleted by injuries they may have been, Scotland will feel particularly frustrated that so much of tonight’s loss can be attributed to some glaring defensive errors that made it far too easy for the home side. While van de Donk’s first goal was smart movement from the Lyon midfielder, both the second and third Dutch goals came from poor defending – and the last thing this world class Dutch side needed was help.

First starts for talents Kirsty Maclean and Amy Rodgers will be a small positive but up against the world class ability of their opponents tonight, it was always more likely to be learning curve for the duo. The biggest frustration for Martinez Losa will be that they won’t be the only one who were given a lesson tonight with Scotland’s recent impressive build under their Spanish head coach hitting the buffers tonight.

Moving onto to the return clash vs Netherlands at Hampden

Offensively, Scotland struggled to create in the absence of Real Madrid’s Weir but to lay tonight’s thrashing by the Dutch on injuries would probably be a little too simplistic. Defensively, Scotland created much of their own problems.

A far from cry from their encouraging recent displays, the defeat in Nijmegen will be a bit of a reality check for the Spanish head coach as he looks to navigate the next steps in his Scotland project. Moving onto Tuesday’s return clash between the pair, Scotland will now have to look at it as a chance to respond to a bit of a pasting and show the Hampden crowd that their growth over the past year has not been a false dawn.