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Jen Beattie: Scotland used to being underdogs

Shelley Kerr’s side face England in their Women’s World Cup opener on Sunday.

Jen Beattie is happy with Scotland’s underdog tag (Jeff Holmes/PA)
Jen Beattie is happy with Scotland’s underdog tag (Jeff Holmes/PA)

Jen Beattie says Scotland are “happy to be underdogs” as they prepare to kick off their debut Women’s World Cup finals campaign with a clash against England.

Shelley Kerr’s side face the Lionesses on Sunday in Nice, and will also take on Japan and Argentina in Group D.

Defender Beattie said: “We’re definitely used to being the underdogs. I think we take that on board and we’re happy to be that.

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Jennifer Beattie has played 124 times for Scotland (Jeff Holmes/PA).

“We definitely have confidence within the team but Scotland, we’re used to being underdogs and we’ll take that title all day.”

When asked what the expectations were for the opening game, Beattie – who it was announced on Wednesday had rejoined Arsenal from Manchester City – said: “We’ve had really good preparations and we’ll go in with confidence.

“But we hope to get a level of points that will get us out of the group, and that is the main aim.

“I feel like there’d be pressure (for the opening game) no matter what. It doesn’t really matter what opponent, everyone knows it’s our first World Cup and the pressure, we can all feel it now we’re here.

“But it’s an environment I think we are all proud to be a part of and hopefully we’ll thrive within it.”

Scotland are ranked 20th in the world, while England are third.

The last meeting between the sides was their opening match at Euro 2017 – the Scots’ first appearance at a major tournament – which England won 6-0.

Beattie, and talismanic Scotland midfielder Kim Little, did not take part in the game, both sitting the tournament out with injury.

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Beattie missed Euro 2017 due to injury (Andrew Milligan/PA).

Asked if the feeling was that Scotland had a point to prove because of that match, Beattie said: “Not really.

“That for everyone is a game that probably isn’t even spoken about at the minute. It’s two years ago, which is a long time.

“Everyone knows how quickly football can change and our focus is very much on this game and the games after that, not on previous results.”

Scotland, then managed by Swede Anna Signeul, finished third in their Euro 2017 group having followed up the England match by losing to Portugal and then beating Spain.

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Shelley Kerr took charge of Scotland following their Euro 2017 campaign (Andrew Milligan/PA).

Kerr succeeded Signeul after the tournament and led the team to World Cup qualification via top spot in their pool, having won seven out of eight games.

They are currently on a five-match unbeaten run featuring five victories, including a 1-0 win against Brazil in April.

Beattie, holder of 124 caps, said: “I would say this is by far the most competitive squad Scotland has ever had.

“Every training session counts at the minute, everyone wants to be playing, but at the same time it’s such a supportive group.

“No matter who plays in that first XI, without a doubt it is a squad of 23 that is here and everyone will play their part.”

PA

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