‘I don’t have the solution,’ insists Sarina Wiegman amidst Scotland controversy

England’s Lionesses will play the final group stage match of their inaugural UEFA Women’s Nations League campaign on Tuesday, as they face Pedro Martínez Lisa’s Scotland at Hampden Park.

Despite securing victory against the Netherlands at Wembley Stadium on Friday, England and the Netherlands have an identical head-to-head record – but as things stand, the Dutch boast a superior goal difference, and they’re in pole position to progress to the semifinals of the tournament.

The Lionesses could claim the top spot if they defeat Scotland and the Netherlands fail to beat Belgium, though there is a scenario that would see England qualify regardless of the other result if they topple their hosts by a big enough margin.

But the match has an added layer of complexity, as Scotland’s hopes of playing at the Paris 2024 Olympics lie in England’s hands. The Lionesses are the designated team that can seal Team GB’s qualification – and so if Scotland defeat England on Tuesday, there will be no Scottish players heading to France next summer.

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‘I understand the conversations about it,’ explained Wiegman in her pre-match press conference, ‘but if you have seen our group and if you have seen Scotland and if you know the history of Scotland and England, then there is no way that they are going to give away this game.’

There is not an easy solution and it’s just about fair play and football and in football everyone wants to win and we know the rivalry between Scotland and England. So, that’s just the way it is right now.’

‘I don’t have the solution. This is the first time we’ve played the Nations League, and how are you going to solve this situation? Maybe you don’t want them in the same group, but then if Scotland topped another group, we topped one and we went into the finals, you’d have the same situation.’

Given the potential importance of a high-scoring fixture, Wiegman added that she hopes the players ‘go wild from the first minute, but you don’t want to get erratic, we want to be controlled, but we really want to play our best game and create chances and get a lot of players up front.’

It comes after Andries Jonker, the head coach of the Netherlands team, highlighted the bizarre set of circumstances following his side’s stoppage-time defeat at Wembley Stadium. The Dutchman told reporters that ‘there is a relationship between the British countries, but they want nothing more than to beat each other. For Scottish sportspersons, it’s an honour to beat the English. In rugby, Scotland and England is always a fight. In the women’s game, it’s going to be the same, in spite of the fact that a player like Erin Cuthbert would participate in a Great Britain team.’