Scotland Women secure perfect World Cup preparation by defeating Reggae Girlz

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Shelley Kerr will lead the Scottish Women to France next month on a high after defeating Jamaica 3-2 in their final match before they head off to the World Cup in two weeks’ time.

The game tonight was played at the Scottish national stadium, Hampden Park in Glasgow rather than Paisley where the Scottish Women’s national team have played their recent games. The decision to switch the venue was rewarded with a record breaking attendance for a women’s match in Scotland. The previous highest attendance was 4,098 against Switzerland in Paisley in the qualifying stages in August last year. The send-off game this evening was watched by a crowd of 18,555.

Shelley Kerr chose to start with an attack minded formation. On form Erin Cuthbert who has scored twice in her last three games for Scotland, Lisa Evans who has 17 Scotland goals to her credit, Claire Emslie and the hugely experienced Jane Ross all started.

For the first ten minutes, Jamaica struggled to get out of their own half as the Scots dominated possession. However it was the Reggae Girlz who took the lead when number 11 Khadija Shaw turned nicely in the box before sending a fine shot past Lee Alexander in the Scotland goal. The goal was against the run of play however and the Scots responded positively winning two corners in quick succession just after going behind.

Scotland continued to press with a fine, interchanging passing game but it was a long-range shot from Erin Cuthbert that brought the equaliser in the 29thminute. The goal had been coming with the hosts enjoying most of the possession but it took a more direct attempt to find the net with a long-range shot rather than some of the more intricate play that the Scots had been trying beforehand.

Cuthbert had a hand in Scotland’s next goal three minutes later when she was brought down at the edge of the box, almost directly in front of the goal. Caroline Weir stepped up and produced a tremendous free kick that sailed passed the helpless Jamaican keeper Sydney Schneider to put Scotland ahead.

The Scots were deservedly ahead at half time. Even after they had gone behind against the run of play they continued to play attractive football. Claire Emslie was enjoying a lot of freedom down the left wing and even on the infrequent times when the Jamaicans threatened, the Scots would play out of defence rather than hit long balls to safety.

Both teams made substitutes at half time, with the Scots taking off Jennifer Beattie, Ross and Emslie and replacing them with Sophie Howard, Christie Murray and Lizzie Arnott.  The changes for the Reggae Girlz saw Schneider in goal being replaced by Nicola McClure and Sashana Campbell replacing Dominique Bond-Flaza.

The Jamaicans started the second half in the best possible way, with an equaliser in the 48thminute when Shaw won the ball on the halfway line and went on a lung-bursting solo run to curl the ball past the helpless Alexander in the Scots goal.

With just under 30 minutes left the Jamaicans used another two subs with Chantel Swaby and Cheyna Mathews going off and Chinyelu Asher and Jody Brown replacing them.

The timing was unlucky for Jamaica as moments later Khadija Shaw was injured in a tackle with Sophie Howard.  With the Jamaicans temporarily down to ten players as Shaw limped off, the Scots took advantage when Howard headed in from the corner of the six yard box to restore Scotland’s lead. Shaw was identified by Scotland Coach Shelley Kerr in the match programme as a really top striker and a great leader. To have what looked like quite a serious injury this close to the World Cup finals to one of their top players must be a concern to the Jamaicans.

To make matters worse for the visitors Kayla McCoy limped off shortly after, with what looked like a twisted ankle after having only come on a few minutes earlier.

The introduction of further substitutes impacted on the flow of the game with both sides making more changes.  With ten minutes left Erin Cuthbert, Scotland’s Player of the Match came off to great applause from the home support.

Overall the Reggae Girlz can be pleased with their performance. Ranked some 23 places below their hosts, they put up a spirited performance, took the lead and managed to score two goals. Tonight’s game will no doubt do their young, inexperienced squad a lot good before they too head off to France.

This was just the sort of send-off that the Scots must have hoped for. A confidence boosting performance, three goals and a record breaking crowd to cheer them on. Everything about tonight will set them up for their opening World Cup match against England in Nice on 9th June.

Womens Soccer

July, 2024
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