Scotland v Austria: The Scots must be fearless in the Women’s World Cup qualifiers

Place: Hampden Park, Glasgow Date: October 6, Thursday Start: 19:35 BST
Coverage: Watch on BBC Alba and iPlayer, live commentary on the BBC Sport website and app, highlights on BBC Scotland and iPlayer from 10.30pm

Pedro Martinez Losa has encouraged his team to be bold and fearless in their crucial Women’s World Cup qualifier with Austria.

The Austrians come to Hampden victorious, and next week face the Republic of Ireland.

And after their World Cup bow in 2019, Martinez Losa says Scotland are ready to step up again.

“We are stable, motivated, prepared and happy together,” he said.

“We tried to manage the emotional part of the preparation.

“For us it is an opportunity to prove and show [what we can do] but also the opportunity for the women’s game to continue to grow, to take the next step.

“We can’t be afraid of anything. Winning or losing is part of our job every day, so we just focus on winning and preparing, which we can control now.”

Martinez Losa admits she is not sure if her daughter will forgive her if they don’t beat Austria at Hampden on Thursday night.

The Spaniard, who replaced Shelley Kerr after Scotland failed to qualify for this year’s Euros, is aware of the importance of this game not only for the squad but for the country as a whole.

The women’s game in Scotland has grown in stature and popularity in recent years, and it would continue to do so if Martinez Losa’s side can book a place at the World Cup next year.

“There is a human aspect,” he said. “Many years ago I didn’t have my own little daughter. Now I have a four-year-old who’s watching TV. So that adds to the emotional part of the responsibility as well.

“I don’t know if he’ll forgive me if I go home without winning.”

He added: “Independently of the result we have that opportunity – we want to win – but it is also an opportunity to influence people, to inspire people.

“Not just girls or women, but to achieve things, to be brave and feel free and express yourself. That’s what my players will do tomorrow.”

What the statistics say

  • Scotland are on a three-game winless run at home, while Austria have won four away games in a row.
  • The sides have met three times before, with Scotland winning all three: 2-1 away and 5-0 at home in the 2003 World Cup qualifiers, then 3-1 in the 2017 Cyprus Cup.
  • West Ham United winger Lisa Evans scored Scotland’s third goal in their recent win over Austria and is in the current squad, but striker Jane Ross is injured and midfielder Leanne Ross has withdrawn. Hoffenheim striker Nicole Billa scored Austria’s goal and is in the current squad.
  • Austria are looking to reach the World Cup semi-finals for the first time despite reaching the last two Euro finals, while Scotland reached the final for the first time in 2019.
  • Austria is currently ranked 20th in the world – three places behind the Scots.
  • Irene Fuhrmann led Austria to the quarter-finals of this summer’s Euros, where they beat runners-up Germany 2-0.
  • Austria finished behind England and ahead of Northern Ireland in their respective groups in this year’s Euro finals and World Cup qualifying.
  • Scotland finished runners-up in their group behind a Spanish side and finished the campaign with a 100% record.
  • Austria ended their qualifying group campaign with a 10-0 win over North Macedonia, while Scotland thrashed the Faroe Islands 6-0.