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A football match has an unusual conflict of interest

A football match has an unusual conflict of interest

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European women's football leagues have been suspended over the past two weeks to make room for national team matches. Indeed, the final rounds of the UEFA Nations League, the biennial competition that contributes to qualification for both the European Championships and the Olympic Games in Paris, are coming to an end. In recent days, there has been a lot of talk about this Italy's victory Against world champion Spain, while in the United Kingdom there is an issue regarding an unusual conflict of interest in the match that England and Scotland will play on Tuesday evening in Glasgow.

The ongoing edition is the first edition of the Nations League, which like the men's edition is a tournament divided into groups: in the first edition (League A) the best national teams of the continent play divided into four groups. The highest-ranked teams in each group qualify for the final stage, which will be held later: due to the coincidence with the Paris Olympics, in this edition, the two finalists will automatically qualify for the Olympic tournament.

At the Olympic Games, the British national teams – and therefore England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – play together as the United Kingdom, whose qualification depends solely and exclusively on England's results. The latter are on pace to make it happen, but on the final day of the UEFA Nations League, they will have to beat the Netherlands, first on equal points in their group but with a better goal difference. And it is precisely here that the conflict of interest arises: for England to hope to qualify for the Olympics, it clearly must beat Scotland, whose players would then be among the UK's potential teams at the Paris Olympics. So an England win could bring the same Scottish players to the Olympics who might deny it on Tuesday evening.

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Added to this is the fact that it is not just a match, but a rivalry between England and Scotland, a British rivalry par excellence, which finds its expression above all in sport (in rugby, for example, the Scots commonly call it “peacock hunting”). Matches played against The English, historically accused of arrogance and insolence by their rivals).

What's more, the match is being played in Glasgow with a large Scottish crowd who probably don't want to know what losing to England (or perhaps playing together in the Olympics) is like. The Netherlands are simultaneously playing against Belgium, and are favourites: this means that if the Netherlands win, England will not only not be enough to win, but will have to do so by a margin of more than three goals (which will eventually be conceded by Sandy McIver, goalkeeper Scotland, who was called up to the England national team until last October).

In the United Kingdom, the matter was talked about a few days ago, and in a press conference, the Dutch coach of the English national team, Sarina Wegman (another crossroads of these qualifiers), said: “I understand that there is a lot of talk about this matter. But if you follow our group and above all if you know their history and the history of England, there is no chance that anyone would give up playing this match. “They really want to beat us, and we want to beat them.” England midfielder Keira Walsh had the same opinion: “No one can question our professionalism.”

I guardian while he asked himself Should something change, in the Women's Nations League draw or the Olympic tournament squad? In the first case, it is difficult for this to happen, since restricting passage between four teams may represent a major organizational problem. What would make more sense would be to change the women's Olympic tournament, which unlike the men's tournament is still played by senior national teams and not under-23 teams.

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England beat Scotland 6-0 but it was not enough: the Netherlands remained in first place in the group on goal difference after winning 4-0 at the same time as Belgium and will advance to the quarter-finals.

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