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Scotland hope Hampden fans will roar team towards World Cup finals
Pedro Martinez Losa urged fans to roll up to Hampden Park and help roar Scotland towards the 2023 Women’s World Cup finals.
The Scots will have home advantage next month when they head into the play-off stages of qualifying for next year’s tournament in Australia and New Zealand.
Scotland will take on Austria in round one at Hampden Park on October 6 and if they win, will host Republic of Ireland in round two a week later, albeit victory would not guarantee them a place in the finals.
The two winners in round two with the highest ranking qualify automatically, but the third would have to take part in an inter-continental play-off in New Zealand.
Head coach Martinez Losa stressed the importance of a big support to boost his side.
He said: “Firstly, we’re very pleased at having the potential opportunity to play two home games.
“We are pleased that the fans will be there – we will need their support against these difficult opponents. They are two strong opponents.
“Austria have shown experience and competitiveness tournament after tournament. They did very well in the last Euros but we will be ready to compete against them.
“The second game against the Republic of Ireland, with the traditional rivalry between the two teams, these are the sort of games you want to be involved in as a player.
“Even as a fan I would love to be at that game at Hampden Park with the opportunity to qualify for a World Cup at stake.
“I would like these games to bring as many fans as possible together. The fans know how important this is for us and they will make a difference to the team.
“To be playing at Hampden in these matches is a big boost for us – we want to inspire a generation of girls to play football and to represent their country in the future.
“We know that being at home is an advantage and that’s what the players need – they need that extra boost the fans will give and hopefully we can make qualification happen together.”
The Scotland boss, however, noted the quality that is standing in the way of reaching the finals.
He said: “Austria have a lot of experienced players, with many of them playing in Germany.
“Their captain has played at Bayern Munich for many years, their goalkeeper is playing at a very high level with Arsenal and their striker, Nicole Billa, has a very good goalscoring record at international level.
“They have done very well in the last European tournaments – not only qualifying but also going to the quarter-finals this year.
“It will be up to us to now work on matching their strengths and exposing their weaknesses.
“We have a good record against Austria, but the way the game has progressed, I don’t think past matches will have any influence on this game.
“It’s also good to have a potential match against an old rival.
“Republic of Ireland are progressing, as many other teams are in the women’s game, proving they can compete at a key level.
“They have good players who are gaining experience, but I am confident that, should we face them, we can be successful.
“We achieved our goal of ending the qualification campaign on a high to keep the momentum going into the play-offs.