Scotland: Anna Signeul hopes lack of double header will benefit side

By Andrew SouthwickBBC Scotland
Scotland's Caroline Weir (left)
Caroline Weir (left) scored in both October wins over Belarus and Macedonia
Women's Euro 2017 Qualifying Group 1: Scotland v Macedonia
Venue: St Mirren Park, Paisley Date: Sunday, 29 November Kick-off: 15:05 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio Scotland, BBC ALBA & BBC Sport website

Scotland coach Anna Signeul is confident her side will be much fresher against Macedonia on Sunday.

The Group 1 leaders defeated the Macedonians 4-1 last month in the Euro 2017 qualifier.

Signeul though attributes a lacklustre second half to playing Belarus four days previous, a problem they will not have to contend with this time.

"We were a little bit disappointed with our second half that we couldn't score any goals," said Signeul.

Scotland have never qualified for a major tournament but lead their group on goal difference after three wins out of three against Slovenia, Belarus and Macedonia.

The Scots are leaving nothing to chance as they bid to qualify for the finals in the Netherlands, and Kim Little and Jennifer Beattie have both flown back from Australia for the St Mirren Park clash.

"They [Macedonia] have quality players, two of them," Signeul told BBC Scotland. "[Natasha] Andonova who is one of the best players in Sweden this season. But we knew beforehand that they had these two quality players [defender Sijce Andonova being the other].

"They are not as physical or big as Belarus or Slovenia, but they definitely are as good technically and tactically as these teams. They sat deep and were very well organised in their defensive shape.

"To play these double headers a few days in between and then you travel as well, and you don't just travel one flight you travel two flights and it takes a whole day to get there, it is demanding. In the last campaign we had one day longer."

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Scotland know a victory will push them a step closer to sealing an automatic qualifying spot, with the group winners and six best runners up making it through.

Iceland pose the biggest threat to their hopes, with the top seeds matching Signeul's side every step of the way so far.

Ranked just one place below Iceland, Scotland will host them in June before a return trip in September.

"We've seen a little bit of them," said Signeul. "When you look at men's football we can see what they're capable of and that's why they're ranked so high.

"They have such a good football culture in Iceland, developing football players. Everyone plays it - boys and girls. They have their indoor halls where they go and train. They have a great history and a great set-up for the women's football.

"It's a physically strong team and they have some great players."

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