Scotland Women boss Pedro Martinez Losa believes playing at major tournaments is where the national team needs to be.
The women’s team secured a World Cup play-off spot, having defeated Ukraine 4-0 on Friday before the Ukranians beat Hungary on Tuesday night – meaning neither team can catch Scotland in second place.
After Scotland’s final Group B game against the Faroe Islands in September, they will enter the play-offs in October as one of the nine runners-up.
The three best runners-up, which Scotland are currently not among, will be seeded directly to round two of the play-offs, with the remaining six facing each other in three preliminary single-leg knockout games.
The nations who progress from round one will then be drawn against the three teams who automatically progressed to round two, where they will play another single-leg knockout clash.
From those games, the two winners with the highest ranking – based on results from the original qualifying groups and round two play-offs – will secure a place at the World Cup, while the third team will enter an intercontinental play-off.
A place at the World Cup is in sight
Martinez Losa believes competing at major tournaments is a must for Scotland, who have only played in the Euros and World Cup once before – in 2017 and 2019, respectively.
The Spaniard says they are working hard to get the national team to Australia and New Zealand next year, with a place at the major tournament an opportunity to progress the game now and for the next generation.
He said: “We have only qualified once before, so it’s where we all want to be.
“For me I have been focused on what we can do every single day to make sure we give this group of players the best opportunity.
“I use the word consistent a lot, so I think we have to use every single major tournament or World Cup to make sure that we progress.
“To make sure that we have more girls wanting to play football, more opportunities and resources for them and more professional resources for them in all the areas.
“So now that means we are doing a good job, all of us together. We are very motivated to do this job, but also (have) the responsibility to make the game better – it’s a big challenge.
“We all want to qualify for the World Cup – nobody better than me and the players. It’s an energy which I can feel.
“But we also have to understand the game’s standard is improving and we have to put a lot of work in.
“We’ve only qualified for one World Cup at the moment and we want to play at a second one.”
Competing not just making an appearance
If Scotland do reach the World Cup, Martinez Losa insists his side won’t be there to make up the numbers.
He’s adamant he would be at the helm of a Scotland side capable of progressing in the competition, rather than a cameo appearance in the group stages.
Martinez Losa said: “This has been my message since my first day – our job is to be prepared to play in a World Cup.
“I don’t want to go to a World Cup and just be there.
“It’s one game at a time – but we see other national teams go and do it and surprise other teams, so why can’t we be in that position?
“That’s why now we need now the energy from the whole nation. It would be difficult to achieve that without that extra support.”
Martinez Losa believes the Scottish nation have a fighting spirit they can use to their advantage if they make it to next year’s tournament.
He added: “For us it’s about who we are and what extras we have compared to other national teams – and you all can probably respond better to that than me.
“But, to me, Scotland is warriors, people who are honest and people are going to fight until the end.
“Don’t forget that we won four points in these qualifiers in the last minute, so this is Scotland.
“Our contribution from the tactical and high standard perspectives, it will be there.
“The player’s will be ready to face the challenge. If they feel strong, they will go to the last minute and last second of the World Cup.”