The Dutch hope that Scottish pride takes precedence over Olympic fire: ‘Rivalry with England is enormous’

NOS Voetbal•vandaag, 06:28

If Scotland’s players want to fulfill their Olympic football dream, they will have to lose big to arch-rivals England tonight in the Nations League. And that is a very strange and annoying thing for the Dutch team.

Coming first in the Nations League pool gives access to the final round of that tournament, where two tickets can be earned for next year’s Olympic Games in Paris. The Netherlands, England and Belgium all still have a chance of winning in group A1, Scotland no longer.

However, the Scottish players still have a prospect of the Games, as part of the British delegation. But then England has to qualify. In that case, the English will go to Paris under the flag of Great Britain, with the option of also bringing players from Wales, Northern Ireland and… yes, Scotland. After all, those countries are also part of Great Britain.

NOSStand Nations League

The Scottish players who think they have a chance of an Olympic call-up for the British team, therefore benefit from losing to England tonight. With big numbers, as the Netherlands and England are equal on points and the goal difference is in Dutch favor. A remarkable scenario, which already raised eyebrows during the draw.

How could England and Scotland have ended up in a group together?

The Nations League is a UEFA tournament. For men, this is completely separate from the Olympic Games. There, special Olympic teams with players younger than 23 participate in the Games. But for women, the regular teams participate in the Games, age does not matter.

For women, the Olympic Games are also much more of a stage on which the very best want to shine. National coach Andries Jonker, who made his mark mainly in men’s football, did not think the Games were that important at first, but was inspired by his players.

Nations League at NOS

The Dutch national team will play its last match in the Nations League against Belgium in Tilburg on Tuesday. The match starts at 8:30 PM.

There will be a preview on NPO 3 from 8:20 PM. The match can also be seen live in the NOS app and on

At UEFA – and also FIFA – the four British states each have their own team. But that is not accepted by the International Olympic Committee. And that is now clashing.

England correspondent Fleur Launspach explains how that difference can exist. “The English were in 1900 founding member of FIFA. When it was set up, FIFA needed broad support. The British managed to stipulate that they were the only country that could allow all their states to participate separately.”

England was never able to achieve that at the IOC. “The IOC organizes the Games. They have their own rules and their own institutions, and they simply say that all countries may only send one team.”

Weren’t they angry about this at the KNVB?

Jonker immediately expressed his surprise at the draw. “Very strange,” he called it. Shortly before tonight’s match, resignation naturally prevails and the focus is on Belgium, which also ‘simply’ needs to be won.

Jonker cannot imagine, perhaps the wish is the father of the thought, that Scotland will willingly allow itself to be led to the slaughter. “We count on and trust that the Scots will give everything.”

Jonker about Scotland’s dilemma

It is not clear whether the KNVB itself has submitted a complaint to UEFA or the IOC. The association points out that Jonker’s message was clear and that he does not speak about something like this on his own.

Are there many players from Scotland who have a chance of being selected for ‘Team Great Britain’?

That’s not too bad. Historically, Team Great Britain consists largely of English players. Only two Scottish football players were selected for the 2012 and 2020 Games.

Those proportions are unlikely to be very different if Team Great Britain makes it to Paris. Only a handful of Scottish internationals seem to have a chance,

AFPCaroline Weir of Scotland in a duel with Jackie Groenen

In any case, Caroline Weir seems certain of a place in this generation of Scots. The attacking midfielder and striker from Real Madrid was also there in Tokyo in 2020. Perhaps her Olympic flame has already extinguished somewhat.

Don’t those Scots hate the English?

Well, the rivalry is indeed great: England is considered within Scottish football The Auld Enemythe old enemy, indicated. The rivalry is ancient, but it is also very much alive in women’s football.

Scottish national team player Hayley Lauder also emphasized this: “We are keen to beat England. As Scots we have a lot of pride. Hopefully we can put on a match that reflects that.”

Aren’t they a bit embarrassed about this in England?

At the BBC the situation became with England’s sense of understatement ‘a bit awkward’ mentioned: a tad uncomfortable. Yet no one in the English media can imagine that the Scots will be walked all over.

Sarina Wiegman, the Dutch national coach of England, does not see that happening either. “The rivalry is enormous. They really want to beat England, we saw that in the first match. We expect a strong Scotland.”

Wiegman: ‘No way’ that Scots will give away the match

2023-12-05 05:28:29
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