Scots ‘ready to put things right’ in Nations League

Venue: Den Dreef, Leuven Date: Friday, 1 December Kick-off: 19:30 GMT
Coverage: Watch on BBC Alba, BBC iPlayer and the BBC Sport website & app

Scotland “haven’t done themselves justice” in the Women’s Nations League, but defender Sophie Howard insists they are “ready to put things right”.

After four matches, Pedro Martinez Losa’s side sit bottom of Group A1 with just one point.

They must finish with wins away to Belgium and at home to England to have a chance of avoiding relegation.

“It’s been a tough campaign but we have everything to play for,” said Leicester City centre-back Howard.

Scotland’s sole point in the group came against Belgium at Hampden, with Howard’s last-gasp header delivering a dramatic draw.

“We haven’t done ourselves justice,” added the 30-year-old. We can compete with anyone, but for that to happen we need to show up and be at our best.

“I know we can do so much better than what we have shown. We’ve shown it in spells, but not consistently and I think that is something we want to develop to be at the highest level consistently.”

England are fourth in the world rankings, while Netherlands are seventh and Belgium 18th. This was never going to be easy for the Scots, who have missed out on the last two major tournaments and find themselves five spots below the Belgians in the Fifa standings.

“The acceleration of the women’s game is forcing us out of our comfort zone,” said head coach Martinez Losa. “We can not think that what we have done previously is enough. The game is evolving and we all must push on that journey.

“We knew this was going to be a challenge, but it’s been great to have a new competition. You sometimes learn the tough way, having injuries, we’ve paid a big price losing some players.”

It was during the home draw with Belgium that Scotland lost Real Madrid midfielder Caroline Weir to an anterior cruciate ligament injury, in what was a frustrating night all round.

Howard’s header brought some relief and she is adamant the never say die attitude displayed in September will be on show once again at the Den Dreef Stadium.

“We don’t give up, we fight until the end,” she said. “The goal came from virtually the last kick, well header, of the game. That’s a sign of who we are, and what we’re about.

“We are fully aware of the standings of the table, but we’re ready to put things right in the next couple of days.”

Team news

Midfielder Hayley Lauder could make her first international appearance since 2020. The Glasgow City veteran has 103 caps, winning her 100th against Japan at the World Cup in 2019. The 33-year-old was a late replacement for AC Milan’s Christy Grimshaw.

Bayern Munich midfielder Sam Kerr is back from injury after missing out on the Netherlands double-header in October, while Abi Harrison, Brogan Hay and Emma Mukandi also return.

How does the group stand?

Team GB will be at next summer’s Olympics if nominated nation England reach the Nations League final, or finish third in the finals tournament if France make the final.

But, after losses away to the Netherlands and Belgium, Sarina Wiegman’s team may not top Group A1 even if they win their final matches against the Netherlands and Scotland.

Belgium are a point ahead of the Lionesses, and trail leaders Netherlands by two.

The team finishing last is automatically relegated to the B division, while the team in third place will face play-offs in February.

helpHow to play

Rate players out of 10 throughout or after the game. The rater will close 30 minutes after the final whistle.

Rating range key1 = Give it up10 = Pure perfection

No players found