England vs Scotland Preview: Our writer predictions for the Lionesses Nations League clash at Stadium Of Light

Will Alessia Russo get on the scoresheet for England this Friday? Cr. Getty Images
Will Alessia Russo get on the scoresheet for England this Friday? Cr. Getty Images

It has been four years since the Lionesses faced rivals Scotland and much has changed in that time for both sides - let alone the women's game as a whole.

It will be almost exactly a month since England's heartbreaking World Cup final defeat to Spain when the teams take to the pitch and Sarina Wiegman's side will be determined to make sure the bad memories are banished and their quality shines through at the Stadium of Light this Friday.

The first game in the inaugural UEFA Nations League, tickets for the clash have sold out as fans gather to see an almost fully fit Lionesses team that has only Barcelona star Keira Walsh missing from the squad.

However, Scotland enter the game on the back of their best run in many years having won their last four consecutive games. They are missing key player Erin Cuthbert through injury but with Real Madrid's Caroline Weir, Glasgow City's Lauren Davidson and Bayern Munich midfielder Sam Kerr all fit and in line for a start, the Tartan Army will be no pushover.

Can the Lionesses ensure their UEFA Nations League campaign starts with three points? Our women’s sports writers Graham Falk, Kurtis Leyland, Susanna Sealy and 3AddedMinutes writer Matthew Gregory share their thoughts and predictions ahead of the game.

Graham Falk

It feels like just yesterday I was predicting the Lionesses World Cup final outcome and that is probably why discussing England still feels so raw.

The final with Spain was sadly overshadow by some awful behaviour from Mr Rubiales, however, from an England perspective, I imagine some of the players have needed a couple of weeks to come to terms with the result and the performance from that evening in Sydney. This Nation's League game has came around quickly but it could serve as a blessing in disguise and a big win in front of 40,000 at the Stadium of Light will get the feel good factor back for Sarina Wiegman's side.

Scotland are no mugs though and will have to be respected in a similar vein to how the men's side were in the game at Hampden Park last week. In many ways, Scotland's men's and women's team have shared a similar path of late. Experienced pros and exciting young talents bringing the team up to a level that can see them compete with some of the world's best teams.

That said, the Lionesses are as good as they've ever been and are genuinely one of the world's best sides and, with a vocal backing, should have enough quality to win the game comfortably.

Graham's prediction: 3-1 to the Lionesses. Rachel Daly and Lauren James to get at least one each.

Matthew Gregory

Scotland have been impressive this year and are unbeaten in six, but it’s hard to envision them winning in Sunderland, especially given that Sarina Wiegman has named the strongest squad available to her.

If Scotland are to have a chance then they have to win the battle in midfield – Scotland score plenty from the heart of the park through players like Sam Kerr and Emma Watson, and England are missing the injured Keira Walsh. Her absence always makes it harder to control possession through the middle. Even so, I can’t see the Lionesses’ World Cup hangover being big enough to give Scotland much of a chance.

Matthew's prediction: England to win 2-0.

Susanna Sealy

Their first game following a World cup final defeat: England will take on the ‘Auld Enemy’ in their opening Nations League fixture and it will be no easy feat. Scotland may not have the best record when it comes to tournaments but if there’s one thing Scots love to do, it’s beating the English.

The Scottish women’s side has come leaps and bounds in recent years with key stars such as Caroline Weir and Rachel Corsie but this is a test England should still pass. Taking place in England, I predict Sarina Wiegman’s side will have a comfortable, if hard-fought win, with Rachel Daly getting amongst the goals.

Susanna's prediction: 3-0 to England.

Kurtis Leyland

England’s Lionesses kick off their inaugural UEFA Nations League tournament with a game against the Auld Enemy Scotland.

Sarina Weigman’s side will be hoping to bounce back after their narrow loss in the Women’s World Cup final, but they face a difficult test against a Scotland side who have made huge strides in recent months.

Despite Scotland’s run of four consecutive victories - the Lionesses should have enough to prevail from the contest.

Kurtis' prediction: I am predicting a 3-1 victory for England with Lauren James and Georgia Stanway grabbing the goals.