How Scotland Women's football team can save Team GB's Olympic hopes - by losing to England

Scotland could save Team GB's Olympic hopes, ITV News' Martha Fairlie reports, words by Connor Parker, Multimedia Producer

If female Scottish football players want to play at the Olympics, they need to do one thing: lose to England.

Due to the unique nature of how the United Kingdom organises its national sports teams - sometimes as one unit, sometimes as the four nations - Tuesday's clash between England and Scotland has created a conflict of interest.

England's women's team needs to progress in the Nations League Cup to secure a spot for the whole of Team GB in the Paris Olympics next summer.

They are currently in second place behind the Netherlands with Belgium in third and Scotland in a distant fourth.

England players were stunned after their victory over the Dutch. Credit: PA

The final of the group takes place in Glasgow on Tuesday and if England wins the game by a three-goal margin they could secure first place.

They would then have made it to the semi-finals of the tournament and, if they make it all the way to the finals, they will join hosts France as one of Europe's three representatives at the Olympics.

If France makes it to the finals then the third-placed team will join the Olympic trio.

England is the nominated nation of the four countries in the UK to earn Team GB's spot, so if they win all of the UK's players can play in the Olympics.

How did we get here?

At half-time during Friday's game between England and the Netherlands, the Lionesses were 2-0 down.

Staring defeat in the face after a string of poor performances many believed their dream of a win in the tournament and qualification to the Olympics were over.

Scotland sit bottom of the group. Credit: PA

But then after a heroic turnaround England won the game 3-2 after a goal from Ella Toone in the 91st minute.

Yet despite the stunning turnaround and the jubilant fans many of the players looked despondent.

They knew they needed to win by more than a one-goal difference to have a better chance at topping the group.

After the game, the Netherlands and England sit tied first with nine points, but the Dutch have a 3-goal difference.

Belgium are in third with eight points and could still finish first if they beat the Netherlands in their upcoming game.

Now, England needs to beat Scotland by at least a three-goal margin, so if the Netherlands beat Belgium by one goal, England needs to beat Scotland by four.

If any Scottish player wanted a place on the Olympic team they would need to be thrashed by England in their final game.

This is a new problem, as previously Olympic qualification was tied to the World Cup and the prestige of that tournament often outweighed everything else.

But with the lesser-known Nation's League Cup playing the part this time, questions over gaming the system to secure Olympic qualification have been raised.

All four teams are seemingly aware of the issue with the Netherlands manager pointing out on Friday saying: "Straight away, it was annoying, but it wasn’t going to change."

Andries Jonkier said: "For many years, Great Britain has participated in the Olympics as Great Britain. It’s strange, but it’s not going to change."

He added: "There is a relationship between the British countries but they want nothing more than to beat each other.

"For whatever Scottish sportsperson it’s an honour to beat the English."

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