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Joelle Murray: Missing out on the EUROs this summer is hard to take

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Scotzine has been covering women’s football in Scotland for around three years and while others may claim they are the ‘leaders’ in such coverage, we prefer to let our actions speak louder than words.

In another aspect of increasing our coverage, not only of the women’s game, but also Scottish football as a whole – we are pleased to announce that we have signed up Hibernian captain and Scotland international Joelle Murray to join our growing band of women’s football columnists.

In her first exclusive piece for Scotzine, Murray looks at the Women’s European Championships in Sweden taking place this month, and the disappointment of Scotland failing to qualify

Pic: Phil McCloy | Scotzine.com

Pic: Phil McCloy | Scotzine.com

With the start of the Women’s Euros in Sweden looming it brings back memories of our second leg playoff game against Spain in October last year and thoughts of “what if’s”.

Euro 2013 is gearing up to be one of the best competitions so far and it’s very disappointing that Scotland miss out on the big stage once again. This wasn’t due to the lack of hard work, determination or will to win, as anyone watching that game in October could clearly see what it meant to every player.

After an intense finale to a game that ended in a 3-2 defeat against Spain, the players were literally dead on their feet and it’s an experience that we don’t want to repeat going forward into the World Cup qualifiers starting this September.

In our last six games with the national team we have come up against five teams who are heading to Sweden this month, the outcome of these game’s resulted in three wins, a draw and a defeat. This makes missing out this summer harder to take as we know we are more than capable of competing with the top teams in Europe.

This has shown in the recent FIFA and UEFA rankings, which see Scotland sitting 20th and 11th respectively which is our highest ever position.

The spotlight will be on Sweden between the 10th and 28th July and I think it’s something they all will relish. The tournament is shaping up to be very competitive with the winner very hard to predict.

After recently playing the German national team in Essen last month, I saw first hand just how good a team they were. Their attack is spearheaded by Celia Okoyino da Mbabi whose pace and ability to finish is frightening. If I was a betting women my money would be on them.

There are exciting times ahead for this ever-growing sport and as a nation we are looking to play a big part in its growth. We believe in our ability and have guidance from some incredibly knowledgeable people, especially Anna [Signeul] and Ann-Helen [Grahm] who along with others should take huge credit for the current position of women’s football in Scotland.

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