Jonker queries England’s ‘strange’ Nations League closer against Scotland

The Netherlands manager, Andries Jonker, said it was “strange” that England play Scotland in their final Nations League game needing a big result to escape the group and move closer towards earning Team GB a place at the Paris Olympics.

“It’s a question all your Dutch colleagues have asked, it makes sense to ask it,” Jonker said, when asked whether two sets of players that stand to benefit from England’s progression undermines the integrity of the Nations League. “I think about sports history. For many years, Great Britain has participated in the Olympics as Great Britain. It’s strange, but it’s not going to change.”

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England’s 3-2 defeat of the Netherlands at Wembley set up a tense deciding round of fixtures on Tuesday. England need to beat Scotland and surpass the Netherlands’ superior goal difference, three to England’s one, to ensure they make the knockout stage. Only a place in the final, or finishing third should Olympic hosts France reach the final, would mean that Team GB qualifies. England are Team GB’s nominated nation, meaning only England’s success would earn the home nations a place at Paris 2024.

“There is a relationship between the British countries, but they want nothing more than to beat each other,” said Jonkers. “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.

“When the draw was made I said to the players the only thing we can do is keep this in our hands. Straight away, it was annoying, but it wasn’t going to change.”

If the Dutch beat Belgium, England need to win by three more goals than the Netherlands do, so if the result in the Netherlands is 1-0, for example, England must win by four. Sarina Wiegman said her side will be aiming to score “as many goals as possible” to secure top spot in their group. “First we have to win that game, and that’s what we’re going to do,” said the England manager.

“Of course, we’re going to push and try to put them fully under pressure to score as many goals as possible, but we have to be aware that we don’t want to concede any too.

“Yes, we need to win [by three] more than the Netherlands do, if they win, so of course we’re going to go forward, straight forward, on Tuesday.”


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