Scots women two wins away from World Cup but 100% Swiss await


Erin Cuthbert is watched by Switzerland’s Ana-Maria Crnogorčević and Lia Wälti in the qualification match in Schaffhausen
Photo: SFA

Scots women two wins away from World Cup but 100% Swiss await

by Steve Clare

It’s been 20 years since Scotland qualified for the World Cup finals. Tonight Shelly Kerr’s Scotswomen could take a massive step to eradicating and ending those 20 years of hurt when they play Switzerland in Paisley.

It will not be easy. Switzerland arrive with a 100% record and a goal difference of plus 17. They beat the Scots 1-0 in Schaffhausen in April courtesy of a Lara Joy Dickenmann goal in the 32nd minute.

The Scots looked to be out of the reckoning for top spot entirely two months later in Poland when they trailed 2-0 with just 24 minutes to go. Incredibly they fought back to win the game as former Seattle Reign forward Kim Little, Jane Ross and Lisa Evans replied to keep Scotland in the hunt.

Fan information from the SFA

A draw will secure Switzerland first place on the head-to-head record and, having lost 1-0, even a 2-1 win will keep Switzerland in the driving seat on that tiebreaker. However their last game is a tricky trip to third place Poland. Scotland can overhaul the Swiss with a two goal win and that would leave them just needing to win in Albania next week.

A 1-0 win would favour the Swiss as the next tie breaker is overall goal difference, and that result would leave them five ahead with Scotland requiring an unlikely hatful in Albania.

The second placed teams with the best four records enter a playoff round and Belgium and Austria seem to be already out of the running, so a draw might leave the Scots’ door slightly open depending on other groups. A loss though would leave Scotland really struggling to make that top four, unless Germany lose in Iceland.

[England and Germany facing possible elimination in crucial week in Womens World Cup]

Utah Royals defender Rachel Corsie is the Scotland captain. She told BBC Scotland:

“It is the biggest game of my career and probably the careers of a lot of these girls in the team.”

“We’ve not laboured it too much. Everyone knows at the back of their mind what’s at stake. The biggest thing was getting to this stage of the campaign and knowing we’re still in it and we are.”

Clearly the comeback in Poland is weighing heavily on their minds. Looking back at the loss in Switzerland, she added:

“We competed and probably should’ve got something in the second half. That gives us confidence knowing if we go out there and leave everything on the park we can get something from the game.”

Most of the FAWSL top sides are represented in the squad with Manchester City, Arsenal and Chelsea each providing players. Scotland will have to watch out for Chelsea’s Ramona Bachmann who was the key player in their FA Cup Win at Wembley.

[Bachmann in Wembley overdrive for Chelsea Ladies]

Dickenmann and two others Vanessa Bernauer and Noëlle Maritz play for German superclub and 2018 Champions League finalists VFL Wolfsburg.

Chelsea’s Erin Cuthbert is a mere 20-years-old. But speaking also to the BBC, she was in no doubt of the scale of the occasion:

“To reach the World Cup would probably be the greatest achievement in my life.

“It’s fine all the club honours, and even the Champions League, but to reach the World Cup with a small country like Scotland would be incredible, especially for the first time.”

She is also in no doubt how much qualification could do for women’s football in Scotland:

“I think it would have a massive effect – you saw what it did for England after they got the bronze medal [in 2015]. Participation increased, attendances increased. Scotland has the potential to really grasp this opportunity of getting to a World Cup in terms of media, sponsorship and participation.”

Arsenal forward Kim Little wants to see a more aggressive approach than the last game with Switzerland:

“That performance was very disappointing on a whole. We conceded a very sloppy goal and didn’t create enough chances. Travelling adds an extra obstacle so being in a comfortable environment will help.”

[Kim Little writes Foreword of Prost Amerika’s Womens Soccer Book]

With home advantage then, the Scots are hoping for a night that will perhaps rank as the most memorable so far in the history of Scottish women’s football.

Kick off is 7.35 and Prost International will be at the game and tweeting updates on the Prost Soccer account.

Scotland squad

Goalkeepers: Lee Alexander (Glasgow City); Jenna Fife (Hibernian); Shannon Lynn (Vittsjo)

Defenders: Chloe Arthur (Birmingham City), Jenny Beattie (Manchester City), Frankie Brown (Bristol City), Rachel Corsie (Utah Royals), Sophie Howard (Reading), Emma Mitchell (Arsenal), Kirsty Smith (Manchester United)

Midfielders: Lizzie Arnot (Manchester United), Leanne Crichton (Glasgow City), Kim Little (Arsenal), Jo Love (Glasgow City), Christie Murray (Liverpool), Caroline Weir (Manchester City)

Forwards: Fiona Brown (FC Rosengard), Lana Clelland (Fiorentina), Erin Cuthbert (Chelsea), Claire Emslie (Manchester City), Lisa Evans (Arsenal), Zoe Ness (Durham United), Jane Ross (West Ham United)


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