Pauw kicks off the mind games as Scots secure playoff date with Ireland 

Girls in Green manager insists it is the Scots who will hold the advantage at Hampden on Tuesday night after they saw off Austria in extra-time
Pauw kicks off the mind games as Scots secure playoff date with Ireland 

THE WINNER: Scotland's Abigail Harrison (left) celebrates scoring their side's first goal of the game during the FIFA Women's World Cup match at Hampden Park, Glasgow. Pic: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire.

The mind-games between the Celtic cousins ahead of Tuesday’s Women’s World Cup playoff decider has already begun with Vera Pauw claiming Scotland hold the advantage.

Ireland discovered which country they’d be facing when Abi Harrison’s back-post header in extra-time shaded the semi-final against Austria.

Staying in Glasgow for the final gives the Scots a head-start, according to Dutchwoman Pauw, who began her managerial career with Tartan Army between 1998 and 2004.

“There will be emotions, so we need to see how they handle that,” she said after a record crowd at Hampden for a competitive match, 10,182, watched their heroes narrowly see off the European Championship quarter-finalists.

“They have played 120 minutes, but there's four rest days so physically they will be ready. They have the advantage of the perception of Hampden Park.

“Scotland was by far the better team. That was a bit surprising because we've seen Austria playing against the very, very top teams, magnificent games, but in this semi-final, it was Scotland all over the pitch.” 

 Pauw and her squad will now receive feedback from her assistant Tom Elmes and two scouts who were sent to Hampden to study the opposition.

“It will be a short night for them because they’re on the first flight,” she said of the three spies. “They will report to us, the technical staff, and we’ll discuss our gameplan. We’ll train in Dublin on Sunday and travel to Glasgow in the evening. We only have Monday there before matchday.

“We’ll need to play our best game ever - nothing has changed from that.”

A 10,182 strong support on Thursday night broke the record for a competitive Scotland Women's National Team match at the historic Glasgow venue.

The Scots almost grabbed a late second when Harrison robbed Marina Georgieva and tried to square for Caroline Weir in front of goal but Carina Wenninger intercepted for Austria.

Belgium and Wales also won their semi-finals, setting up three deciders next Tuesday.

Only two of the three victors will advance directly to the World Cup, with the third having a detour through the Intercontinental playoffs in New Zealand next February.

Wales beat Bosnia and Herzegovina 1-0 on a tense night in Cardiff. Jess Fishlock struck an extra-time winner by superbly volleying home Rachel Rowe's cross after 105 minutes and sending a record 15,200 crowd wild.

It capped an extraordinary few days for Fishlock, who won the NWSL Shield with her Seattle-based club OL Reign last weekend, as Wales' place in the next round was secured.

Wales will now play in Switzerland on Tuesday ahead of a potential inter-continental play-off in February to determine qualification for next summer's finals in Australia and New Zealand.

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