England face women’s Euro ‘battle of Britain’

Utrecht (Netherlands) (AFP) – England’s goalkeeper Karen Bardsley said Tuesday she expected a tough physical game when the Lionnesses take on Scotland in their women’s Euro opener.

Ahead of Wednesday’s group D game in Utrecht she said: “We’re hoping that the game obviously goes in our favour but we’re expecting big things from Scotland, they’re a fantastic side with some really good players.”

“It’s really going to be a tough opposition because there’s the rivalry and everything so that’s something that we’re prepared for,” the 32-year-old American-born Manchester City keeper told AFP.

England boast a record of six wins in as many competitive games against Scotland, and 21 wins, two draws and a single loss overall, but Bardsley said history did not matter.

“I think in a tournament things are always a little more exciting,” she said.

“They’ll be a physical side, they’ve got some great technical ability, especially in the midfield, and up top we know that they’re struggling with some injuries, but I’m expecting a physical game, an aggressive game, a fast game, probably a direct game.”

Scotland are missing key players Kim Little and Jennifer Beattie, who stayed at home with injuries, while midfielder Hayley Lauder is recovering from an injury and is unlikely to play on Wednesday.

“OK, they’re missing a few key players, but other players will step into their roles,” said England striker Jodie Taylor.

“I don’t think it will be an easy game, obviously the rivalry with Scotland and being the first game in the tournament — I think it’s going to be an extremely tough game,” the 31-year-old Arsenal forward told AFP.

“It’s going to be a battle of Britain.”

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