SCOTLAND’s progress under Pedro Martinez Losa will be put to the test when they play against Sweden in a friendly match at SMiSA Stadium in Paisley tonight. The Spaniard’s first three matches in the lead, against Hungary, twice, and the Faroe Islands, have given nine World Cup qualifying points, but the Swedes are a completely different proposal.
Always one of the leading women’s soccer nations, they achieved their highest FIFA ranking ever in August when they moved up three places to second after the world champions USA. This was due to the fact that they reached the final of the Olympic tournament in Tokyo, when they lost a penalty shootout against Canada after extra time.
The Swedes are unbeaten in 90 minutes in 21 matches and win 17 of them. Still, the latest, a 1-0 loss to Ireland in a World Cup qualifier in Dublin on Thursday night, was neither in the results line nor the goal attempts.
Scotland, who themselves needed a last-minute winner to beat Hungary at Hampden the following evening, need a tough test ahead of next month’s key qualifiers in Group B in Spain. The best seeds are also on a hugely impressive run, having won their last 13 matches without conceding a goal.
Arsenal midfielder Jen Beattie, who was the player of the match on Friday and is in line for Scotland Muppet No. 135, has already been on the losing side three times against Sweden. Her new head coach at Arsenal, Jonas Eidevall, is also Swedish.
“They are coming after a very successful summer, getting a silver medal, and they are one of the best teams in the world right now,” Beattie pointed out.
“My experience of playing with Swedish players, or against Sweden, is that they are very direct, very aggressive with the way they press.
“I expect a game that is very similar. They are just pretty ruthless.”