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The big takeaways from Scotland Women’s Pinatar Cup campaign as final game ends in 1-1 draw with Wales

Erin Cuthbert in action for Scotland at the Pinatar Cup. Image: Scottish FA.
Erin Cuthbert in action for Scotland at the Pinatar Cup. Image: Scottish FA.

The Pinatar Cup highlighted positives and areas of improvement for Scotland Women, as they signed off the campaign with a 1-1 draw with Wales.

In their final game of the tournament, Scotland started well and took the lead after seven minutes, as Sophie Howard evaded her marker in the box and headed home Erin Cuthbert’s corner.

Wales, who had rarely troubled Scotland in the first half, pulled level three minutes before the interval, with Ceri Holland slotting the ball beyond Lee Gibson after being played through by a perfectly placed pass by Jess Fishlock.

The draw with Wales means Scotland finish the campaign on four points, having beaten the Philippines 2-1 on Saturday following the disappointing 2-0 defeat to Iceland in the opening game last Wednesday.

Positives to build on

Scotland were dominant in the first half against Wales and Iceland, and against the former they were able to capitalise on that with the early Howard goal.

There was some really good stuff, with a more direct approach compared to other games proving to suit Scotland, especially from defence to the midfield, but there was still a lack of cutting edge in the final third.

Against opposition like Iceland and Wales, Scotland showed they are more than capable of taking control in games, which is promising for competitive qualifiers, but there were problems in being able to make something of that control.

Over the games, the control was something that seemed to wane eventually with the second half against Iceland frustrating, while against Wales it became a bit of a lacklustre and drab affair.

Scotland manager Pedro Martinez Losa speaks to the squad after the opening defeat to Iceland. Image: Scottish FA

With the Pinatar Cup being an invitational friendly tournament, it was a chance to work on different combinations with different players.

All but one player – Liverpool goalkeeper Eartha Cumings – got minutes at the Pinatar Arena, and the result was three different kinds of styles of play – all of which had positives and negatives.

It would’ve been good to see some more fresh faces named in the original squad, but there were glimpses of the young talent who will make an impact for Scotland in years to come.

Scotland need to make most of chances

In the 2-0 defeat against Iceland, Scotland dominated the first half and could’ve been two or three goals to the good by half time, but two quickfire goals after the interval proved costly.

The first half was really promising, and like the Wales game, were probably some of the best minutes played under Martinez Losa, with Scotland doing almost everything right but finding the back of the net.

Throughout the 90 minutes though, Scotland had 60% of possession, registered 21 shots, but only four were on target, while Iceland had nine shots and three on target.

Against the Philippines, Martinez Losa’s side had just two shots over the first 45 minutes, with one of them resulting in Lauren Davidson’s first Scotland goal.

Glasgow City forward Lauren Davidson. Image: Shutterstock

The first two games were especially a case of Scotland not being clinical enough, and against Wales there were opportunities for the Dark Blues to threaten more than they did.

But is there a striker or a prolific forward in the squad who can be the outlet and add some much-needed ruthlessness?

Davidson, 21, is currently the top goalscorer in SWPL 1, with 16 goals from 18 games for Glasgow City, and carried her form into the Pinatar Cup with that opening goal against the Philippines.

She’s a promising talent, but with currently just six caps to her name and at this stage in her career, Davidson is probably not ready to be a regular starter within the frontline.

Martinez Losa has clearly pondered the position as well, with Manchester United’s Martha Thomas, Aston Villa’s Kirsty Hanson and Bristol City’s Abi Harrison leading the line during this camp.

Talent for the future

Alongside Davidson, who featured in all three games, there are a few other young players who made a good account of themselves in Spain.

Brogan Hay made her first start for Scotland against Iceland and did well, while Rangers teammate Sam Kerr was the only Scotland player at the tournament to start all three matches.

Kerr, 23, who has become a pivotal player under Martinez Losa and was named Scotland’s Player of the Year for 2022, will continue to play an important role in the middle of the park.

For Scotland, she mostly features in a number six role, with Erin Cuthbert and Caroline Weir in the more attacking midfield roles which is where Rangers fans would be used to seeing Kerr star in.

Rangers midfielder Sam Kerr. Image: Shutterstock

Many thought this camp would’ve been a chance to bed in more talent ahead of a new cycle of qualifiers, with an inaugural Nations League campaign to prepare for as well as Euros qualification.

But other than Jamie-Lee Napier, who made her senior debut against the Philippines, there was no surprising fresh additions in the squad for the Pinatar Cup.

There are players who should’ve been in contention to go to Spain, not necessarily to play a considerable amount of minutes, but to be exposed to the levels required for international football.