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Friday, September 24, 2021

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‘Scotland must aim for first place’

Scotland beat Spain at Euro 2017 but it was not enough to progress from the group phaseVenue: Hidegkuti Nandor Stadium, Budapest Date: Friday, 17 September Start:19:00 BSTCoverage: Live on BBC Alba, BBC iPlayer and via BBC Sport website & appPedro Martinez Losa aims to get off to a winning start with Scotland as he targets a tussle with his native Spain for World Cup qualification.

The Madrid-born head coach takes charge for the first time in Friday’s opener away to Hungary before the Faroe Islands visit Hampden on 21 September.

Spain are top seeds in a group that also includes Ukraine.

“By the time we play Spain we will love to be in the position to compete for first position with them,” he said.

“The most exciting thing for me is to create the identity of this team, to connect with the players, the staff and make the most of the team and the performances, to create something really special for Scotland.

“But of course, I am Spanish and when we play against Spain I will have extra motivation of course to beat them and prove what Scotland can do.”

Weir & Graham drop out, Arnot & Boyle called upLittle retires from Scotland duty at age 31Scotland go to Spain in the fifth match of the campaign in late November and host the nation ranked 10th in the world in the penultimate game in April.

The group winners qualify directly for the 2023 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, while a play-off awaits the runners-up.

“We cannot say one game is more important than others,” added Martinez Losa. “We have to go game by game. We will try to aim for first position.

“We are aware that first position is difficult but only if you dream and work for the first position, maybe you get the second but if you aim for second you maybe get third so will aim to win every match and will recap after every match.

“Let’s try to be first and if we are just second at the end, we will deal with that.”

Meanwhile, the former Rayo Vallecano, Arsenal and Bordeaux boss is delighted to call Hampden home for the qualifiers.

He said: “It is a unique opportunity for all of us and the girls are all really excited to prove themselves, to play at Hampden.

“What we are hoping to do is connect with a lot of fans and have a lot of fans in the stadium to have the 12th player who can make a difference.

“At the end of the competition maybe one point difference is the one that gives us that opportunity so we are looking forward to that.”

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