England host Scotland in their opening League A1 match as the inaugural UEFA Women’s Nations League commences.
Victory would see England or Scotland move top of the group if can better Belgium’s result against Netherlands.
Lotte Wubben-Moy has withdrawn from England’s squad due to injury and has been replaced by Lucy Parker.
Keira Walsh (calf) and Bethany England (hip) are also absent, although the pair weren’t named in the squad for this international window.
Scotland have no fresh injury concerns with a full squad available for selection, as Rachel Corsie, Caroline Weir and Martha Thomas feature amongst those looking to start on Wearside.
When is Kick-Off?
England host Scotland at Stadium of Light, Sunderland, in a 7:45pm BST kick-off on Friday 22 September, live on ITV1 in the UK although build-up will commence on ITV4 from 7pm before switching channels at 7:30pm.
- England are unbeaten in four of their last five meetings against Scotland in all competitions (W3, D1, L1).
- Scotland have lost all of their eight previous away matches against England played on English soil (L8).
- Sarina Wiegman’s Lionesses have kept just one clean sheet in their last five matches (W3, D1, L1), which came in a goalless Round of 16 tie against Nigeria but won on penalties.
- Scotland have lost just one of seven matches this year in all competitions (W5, D1, L1), and kept clean sheets in three of their last four matches alone.
Although a month has passed since their World Cup Final heartbreak, England now need to reset and treat this match as the start of a new major tournament – which it is in practicality, and try to rediscover the spark which saw them dig deep at times Down Under.
Alessia Russo meanwhile is the only player who has been in match action for her club following the World Cup, so I do expect her to be England’s spearhead if she can continue that momentum because the rest of the team are pretty much starting afresh so might be lacklustre initially.
Scotland meanwhile weren’t at the World Cup but have players in the same situation as many of the Lionesses, whereas players like Eartha Cumings, Nicola Docherty and Claire Emslier are already match fit having continued to play for their clubs in recent weeks.
On that note, fitness certainly will play a part throughout this match but given England’s quality and head-to-head form over Scotland, you can’t help but feel that they should have the edge but their defence does look like their biggest weakness as the World Cup exposed repeatedly.
Prediction: England 2-1 Scotland
Result: England 2-1 Scotland