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Women's Football News
Anna Signeul believes this week's workout against Finland was a welcome warm-up for March's Cyprus Cup.
Scotland's women's national team lost 3-1 in the Eerikkilä Sports Institute, Kim Little scoring their goal, but the result was of secondary importance to reacquainting the squad during what is the off-season for many of its players.
With Scotland ideally placed in World Cup 2015 Qualifying Group 4 - top of the group after taking maximum points from their first four games - Anna has planned for her squad to be an even more powerful proposition for the resumption of the qualifying campaign in April, with a double-header against Poland and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Scotland have been drawn to play Holland, France and Australia in next month's Cyprus Cup and Anna will use all three games to ensure the team are ready to reaffirm their qualification credentials ahead of two potentially decisive fixtures against the Group 4 favourites, Sweden.
"While it would have been nicer to win against Finland, the most important thing was to have the group together again," she said. "Remember, for many of our players this is pre-season and although we should have been stronger in both penalty boxes, I felt we played well.
"We had some injuries and brought in some younger players so overall it was a good experience and continues our preparations for the Cyprus Cup where we will be playing against some very tough opposition, which again can only help us before the World Cup qualifying campaign resumes."
Christie Murray and Emma Mitchell, both of Arsenal Ladies, were given an opportunity to impress against Finland and while Anna will utilise her full squad during the Cyprus Cup, she will do so mindful of the need to maintain momentum in the quest to make the quantum leap to qualification for next year's World Cup in Canada.
"What is really encouraging is that we are definitely stronger, fitter and more powerful," said Anna, "and we will need to continue that improvement if we want to reach the finals. I have said already that I believe we can qualify after narrowly missing out in recent campaigns but it will be extremely difficult. While it will be useful to experiment, we must also realise the strength of those who have helped us to four victories in our qualifying matches so far.
"The Cyprus Cup is a chance to show that we have improved. I am happy with how fit we are, how sharp we can be in attack - even if we didn't show that in Finland - and we also need to be stronger in our own box.
"I am happy with how we are progressing and I am sure we will be ready in time for the qualifiers against Poland and Bosnia-Herzegovina."
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