England failed to overcome a bizarre scenario in which they had to thrash British rivals Scotland to help Team GB qualify for next year’s Olympic Games. The Lionesses had to outscore the Netherlands’ victory over Belgium by at least three goals, but a 6-0 demolition at Hampden Park ultimately was not enough in a game critics argued represented a conflict of interest.
It was argued that Scotland effectively had to accept being smashed by their neighbours to give their players a chance of competing for Team GB in Paris in 2024. The Scotland camp slammed that notion as ‘disrespectful’, insisting they would try to beat Sarina Wiegman’s side.
Heading into the final round of Nations League group fixtures, England trailed the Netherlands by a three-goal difference. The winner of the group would qualify for the Nations League finals in February and qualify for the Olympics.
As Team GB’s nominated football team, England had beat Scotland and score three more goals than the Netherlands managed against Belgium. They would then top the group and ensure Team GB qualified for the Olympics, while simultaneously ensuring England qualified for the Nations League finals.
England led 4-0 at half-time and two further goals in the second half appeared to be enough to clinch the top spot in Group A1. However, a heroic comeback by the Dutch saw them leapfrog the Lionesses in the final moments of their clash with Belgium.
The Netherlands defeated their counterparts 4-0 in Amsterdam, meaning they topped the group by a one-goal margin. It rendered England’s 6-0 thrashing of Scotland obsolete, with Team GB failing to qualify for the Olympics as a result.
England defeated the Netherlands at Wembley on Friday night, keeping their doubles hopes of Nations League and Olympics qualification alive. Dutch coach Andries Jonker pointed out the conflict of interest in England having to thrash their Scottish counterparts in their final game.
“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,” Jonker said.