Scotland Women secure World Cup play-off as head coach admits: 'We can't miss the opportunity'

Through to the women’s World Cup play-offs, Scotland have a squad capable of impressing on that stage, according to manager Pedro Martinez Losa, but he warns that unless they keep up the pace when it comes to improving standards, they could easily be left behind again.

On Tuesday night, group rivals Hungary lost to Ukraine, rendering Scotland safe in second place and securing themselves one of the play-off spots that will determine the final line up for the tournament, which will be hosted by Australia and New Zealand next summer.

It left the squad and staff exchanging excited calls and messages but while the celebrations were well-earned, their boss says there is still plenty of work to be done to see them over the line. And, even then, intent on making it a regular four-yearly appointment with the global elite, he says they will need to keep raising their game again and again.

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“We have to use every major tournament to make sure we have more girls wanting to play football, more resources and more professional. That will mean we're doing a good job. We all want to qualify for the World Cup, and nobody more than me – and the players.

“I think from our position we have to make sure that we always work at the highest standard.

“The second step is working with the clubs, and the league, and the whole game in Scotland. The new changes to professionalism are very positive and the more players we have being professional, with access to programs, access to world class facilities, good coaches, and good competition, will help. That recipe is not very difficult. And it looks like we are all working towards that.

“But we have to be aware that the game is taking off, it is flying, so we have to improve and progress as fast as the game is growing. We have to respond to the expectations and requirements of the game. Look, at every World Cup it has moved forward.

“In Canada in 2015 we saw how good the game was, how fast the game was but then suddenly in France it was another three steps forward and I'm sure it will be the same again.

Scotland manager Pedro Martinez Losa. (Photo by Lukasz Skwiot / SNS Group)

“This World Cup will catch the eye of millions of people around the world so we can't miss the opportunity.”

They have their final group match against Faroe Islands in September but minds are already focused on the October play-offs.

“We know it is not an easy pathway. After the Faroe Island game we will know what the challenges are,” said Martinez Losa. “No matter whether we play one game or two games I think we can beat any of the teams that are in second place now. There won't be many changes now so we can start planning for the different scenarios. We can compete 100 per cent.”

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Having come through the recent test against Ukraine with a convincing 4-0 victory, the Scotland manager believes his players are mentally tough enough.

“Over the last eight, nine months, the players have bought into what we want to do and hopefully we can keep the energy and momentum going. We hope that all of the fans believe in us too.”



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