‘Big learning curve’ for Scotland at Home Nations

Scotland head coach Scott Chaplain.

Scotland futsal coach Scott Chaplain admits the 2018 Home Nations was a “big learning curve” for his side but saw plenty of positives to take into World Cup qualifying.

Scotland finished third once more in the tournament in the “closest Home Nations there’s been” but Chaplain is disappointed they couldn’t grab second spot.

After an impressive opening-day 6-2 victory over hosts Northern Ireland in Newry, the Scots took the lead against eventual-champions England and missed a 10 metre penalty to make it 2-2 in a close contest before losing out 3-1.

That gave them the opportunity to finish second on six points, a record points tally in the competition, if they could beat winless Wales in the final match.

They fell short, however, as the Welsh racked up a convincing 6-2 victory to leave Scotland to come third for the third year running.

Chaplain told Pivotal Sport: “Overall, it was a bit up and down.

“For the last game we did warn the players about complacency and it was a step back in the progress we’ve made.

“We’ve put a lot of emphasis on defending set-pieces and defending but in that first half it all went out the window.

“That’s a big learning curve for us, we just need to take that one on the chin.

“It’s a good reference point for us with the World Cup qualifiers coming up that you can’t underestimate anybody, you have to be consistent or you’ll get punished.

 

 

“It was a sore point at the end but, overall, we did well – we took England as close as we’ve ever done and we stood up to them well, credit to the boys for that.

“The boys responded really well to going behind, though, and we got a 10-metre penalty to make it 2-2, missed it and they went and made it 3-1 so it was fine margins in that game.

“The boys were really disappointed to lose that one which told me a lot about how far we’ve come.

‘Then, it was a disappointing way to end because we didn’t do ourselves justice against Wales.

“We had the opportunity to finish on six points and get second which would be our best-ever finish – but we are Scotland, we never make it easy!”

This year was the first time every nation won a match and Chaplain says it was clear progress had been made across the board – now his job is to focus on Scotland’s qualifying group for the World Cup which is drawn next week.

He added: “It was the closest Home Nations there has been.

“You can see every team is progressing. Our preparation was the best it’s ever been while Northern Ireland and England have been playing more games than ever, too.

“Our preparation this year was great, it makes such a difference playing games, and now it’s about continuing that progress into the World Cup qualifiers next year.”

Scotland will find out their opponents for World Cup 2020 preliminary qualifying on December 12 with matches played between January 29 and February 3.