Why Scotland must go back to the future against Spain to leap-frog Pedro Martinez Losa's homeland in World Cup qualifiers
Scotland’s women must revisit past glories if they want to break new ground in the World Cup qualifiers against Spain on Tuesday evening.
Their hosts in Seville have yet to concede in their last 15 matches – one game against Pedro Martinez Losa’s side from keeping a clean-sheet for a full 24 hours of international football – though Scotland have history on their side.
Under Anna Signeul, Spain were beaten 1-0 in the 2017 European Championships and a repeat – to end this Spanish shut-out spell and their unbeaten run – would also see Scotland assume top spot in the group.
Scotland are similarly unbeaten in the competition so far, despite a friendly loss to Sweden last month and leaving it late to draw with Ukraine through a last-minute Abi Harrison goal on Friday night.
Midfielder Erin Cuthbert though, is defiant, and looking on the bright side.
"We're still unbeaten and I think, if any Scotland team is unbeaten in their qualifying group, they're doing a pretty good job so far so I think there needs to be a bit of perspective,” she said.
"Yes, we can do better, we will do better, and the focus turns to Tuesday,” the Chelsea forward said.
Sharing Hampden with the men’s team – who also ended the unbeaten record of Denmark recently – will also help prepare for the match, to be held in the 60,000-seater Estadio La Cartuja de Sevilla – site of Celtic’s UEFA Cup Final with Porto in 2003.
Cuthbert believes that though not quite firing on all cylinders recently, the team has a positive base to build on against some top class opposition.
“We were disappointed with the performance on Friday but we have to take heart that we managed to score in the last minute and remain unbeaten in the campaign.
“We’re going to have to be a bit more robust in defence as there were too many counter attacks [against Ukraine]. We need to limit chances and defend well against an on-form side.
“The last time we played them we beat them so anything is possible and we need to go into the match confident in our ability. Spain are a top team with a lot of Barcelona players who I know well so we need to be at the top of our game.”