Scottish women buoyant after successful Algarve Cup


Canada 1 :  0 Scotland

Scotland’s women left Portugal delighted after finishing fifth in the Algarve Cup. They beat both Denmark and Iceland having lost their opening game 1-0 to Canada.

The campaign for Shelley Kerr’s ladies however started off with a loss. They were defeated by the  fifth ranked Canadians on March 1st at the Estadio Municipal De Lagos, Lagos, Portugal.

The Scots kept the high flying Canadians at bay until the 81st minute when the Canucks were awarded a penalty when Chloe Arthur took down Ashley Lawrence. The legendary Christine Sinclair, playing her 277th international, stepped up to the spot and calmly slotted the ball past a diving Lee Alexander for the win.

Scotland’s best early chance came in the 19th minute when Canadian keeper Erin McLeod rushed off her line to beat a Scottish attacker to the ball. McLeod managed to block, but the ball deflected back to Chelsea’s Erin Cuthbert who chipped the ball goalwards where it was headed away by Kadeisha Buchanan.

Scottish keeper Lee Alexander made a fine leg save to deny Jordyn Huitema in the 29th minute after a Sinclair pass found her alone but the offside flag had already been raised and Huitema blew another chance when her weak shot was saved by Alexander after a Sinclair cross in the 31st minute. Sinclair was put in alone in the 35th minute but under pressure from Scottish captain Rachel Corsie, her shot went high.

The best news for Scotland may be that Arsenal striker Kim Little came through 90 minutes for Kerr’s side, as well as the 81 minutes of parity against one of the world’s top sides. Little suffered a fractured fibula in Arsenal’s 5-0 win over Chelsea in October 2018 after a tackle by Chelsea midfielder Drew Spence.

At the time, it was thought she would miss up to ten weeks of football, at a crucial time in both Arsenal’s season and Scotland’s World Cup preparation. The injury was especially troubling as injury had forced the Mintlaw forward to miss the Euro 2017.

The possibility of missing the World Cup through injury was already weighing on Little’s mind so much that she even spoke of it in an interview published in the Guardian just 33 days before that fateful game against Chelsea

“At 28, Little still has time on her side but a fear of further injury jeopardising her chance of making the trip to France is inescapable. “I think it’s maybe natural to fear that as a player, especially if you’ve been through it before. I may fear it a bit, but it’s not something that hampers me or stops me from being so excited by it.”

Little returned to the Gunners line up on January 6 for their match at West Ham and hasn’t looked back since.

The loss to Canada was however just the start for Scotland and in itself was not a bad result for Kerr whose side are ranked 20th in the world. Scotland’s next two opponents were Denmark (ranked 17th, three places above Scotland) and Iceland ranked 22nd.


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