The Sunday Post (Inverness)

Auld Enemy drawn together in France


England manager Phil Neville believes Scotland will give his side a tough game when the sides meet in Nice next summer.

Unbelievab­ly, last night’s World Cup draw in Paris paired the two old enemies in the opening Group D game.

It will be a repeat of Euro 2017 – when the Scots were hammered 6-0 in Utrecht on their major championsh­ip debut.

“It will be a special occasion against our nearest rivals,” the former Man Utd star said.

“I watched Scotland play the USA (in Paisley last month) and thought they were fantastic.

“They’ve got players in the FA WSL who not just make up the squads, but are some of the key players.”

Like England, Scotland are also under new management since the Euros and Shelley Kerr, who replaced Anna Signeul as head coach said: “We went into the Euros with four starting players out through injury.

“That would decimate any team on a European or world stage.” Among those missing were star midfielder Kim Little and central defender Jen Beattie.

Both have more than 100 Scotland caps. The draw, at La Seine Musicale in Paris, proved to be a really tough one for Kerr and her players.

As well as England, who finished third in the 2015 World Cup, the Scots must play Japan.

Although among the second seeds, Japan were runners-up to the USA in Canada three years ago and won the 2011 tournament.

The fourth team in the glamour group are Argentina – who were the top seeds in Pot 4.

The second group game is against Japan in Rennes, and then it’s Argentina in Paris.

“It’s a very, very tough first game, and a very tough second game,” Kerr admitted. “You’re playing Japan, who are a formidable force, runners-up in 2015.

“England, bronze medallists in 2015 and Argentina, who have played in World Cup finals before.

“But when you’re a manager you want to compete on the world stage – that’s what football’s all about.

“I’m really excited about playing the best teams in a World Cup.

“The planning starts now. We’re going to be in three different locations so there is a lot of travelling and logistics involved.

“We need to also not just focus on the one game which everyone will be talking about.” n

 ??  ?? Scotland boss Shelley Kerr
Scotland boss Shelley Kerr

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