Pedro Martinez Losa says Scotland has 'improved' since missing out on World Cup

The Scots missed the chance to reach the biggest stage in football when they lost 1-0 to Republic of Ireland in the play-off at Hampden Park in October 2022.

Pedro Martinez Losa insists Scotland women’s team will use their World Cup play-off disappointment to spur them on in this year’s European qualifiers.

The Scots missed the chance to reach the biggest stage in football when they lost 1-0 to Republic of Ireland in the play-off at Hampden Park in October 2022.

Caroline Weir missed a penalty for the home side in the first half before Irish substitute Amber Barrett raced through after the interval to beat goalkeeper Lee Gibson.

There has been an unsuccessful Nations League campaign since – Scotland finished bottom of League A Group 1 with two points – but Martinez Losa believes the Euros qualification group which includes Serbia, Slovakia and Israel – all below the Scots in the FIFA rankings – can be negotiated.

Scotland start with a double-header against Serbia away on Friday and Slovakia at home next Tuesday as they bid to secure a place in Switzerland next summer.

Looking back at the game against Republic of Ireland, the Spaniard said: “The biggest motivation, apart from that experience together, it gives you the mental preparation to face the next opportunity.

“I remember we discussed it after the game at Hampden and I said I promise that football always gives you another opportunity. It will be difficult after that day but it is about being prepared for the next opportunity and hopefully it arrives soon, which I think it will.

“It was frustrating in terms of the disappointment in the group. When you represent the national team, it is different to club level, you inspire the whole nation so there is a responsibility you feel for a long time.

“The difficulty of international football is you don’t have the opportunity to immediately to put things right and what we have done is try to reflect and analyse how we bring the team to the next level.

“From that day we are a totally different team. There are still areas to improve but we have improved.

“It is what we have been waiting for, competitive games and we are looking forward to starting.”

Captain Rachel Corsie believes the widespread publicity around the spat at the end of Arsenal’s 1-0 win over Chelsea in Sunday’s League Cup final was in part due to the growth in women’s football.

Blues boss Emma Hayes called out Gunners counterpart Jonas Eidevall for what she claimed to be “male aggression” following a touchline fracas with Chelsea and Scotland midfielder Erin Cuthbert late in the game.

Eidevall defended his behaviour, saying the disagreement began with a pre-match decision, favoured by Chelsea, to use a one-ball system in the final instead of Arsenal’s multi-ball preference.

Aston Villa defender Corsie said: “I only seen the social media content but from playing against Arsenal and Chelsea, they are serial winners and I think Emma and Jonas are at the head of that for both clubs and there is a lot of passion.

“The best thing was they both agreed that there would be a phone call on Monday and they would talk it out.

“A lot has been made of it and I think it is because the game has grown so much. It was everywhere.”

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