Wales Women 1 - 2 Scotland Women: Little and Love clinch play-off berth
SCOTLAND’S women will know their Euro 2013 play-off opponents on Friday after clinching their place in the draw with victory over Wales at Parc y Scarlets in Llanelli on Saturday night.
The last round of qualifying matches will be played on Wednesday, when Anna Signeul’s side host France at Tynecastle in a tea-time kick-off.
The Scots have never reached the finals of a major championship.
Although the groups have yet to be finalised, their likely play-off opponents have narrowed down to Spain, Russia and whichever side loses Wednesday’s Group 3 decider between Norway and Iceland. Scotland were edged out by Russia in the 2009 Euro play-offs, despite winning the second leg away from home.
With a determined Wales side needing all three points on Saturday night to have any chance of making the play-offs themselves, Scotland weren’t at their best in the first half and fell behind to a Helen Lander goal.
But Glasgow City midfielder Jo Love responded with a header just before the interval and Kim Little’s well-taken strike sealed all three points in a second half notable for a string of excellent saves by the Welsh goalkeeper Nicola Davies.
France, who have maximum points from seven games, tied up the group with an easy 4-0 win over the Republic of Ireland, also on Saturday night.
There is still a statistical chance of Scotland qualifying automatically for the Euro finals as the best runners-up in the seven groups, but to do so they needed not only to beat Wales and France, but improve their goal difference by five.
The narrow win over Wales effectively put paid to that already slim chance, since beating France by any margin would be a significant achievement. The French were semi-finalists in both the Olympics and last year’s World Cup in Germany, and are fifth in the Fifa rankings.
“We made it a bit more difficult for ourselves against Wales than we should have, but that’s the nature of these games,” admitted Signeul.
“We wanted to score a couple more goals to give ourselves a chance of qualifying automatically, but we have probably given ourselves too much to do now.
“It wasn’t that we lacked chances, but their goalkeeper was excellent. It feels good to have at least made the play-offs. It also means we can enjoy the last game against France, and a good result would give us confidence for the play-offs.”
The Tynecastle game, which kicks off at 5pm, is being televised live on BBC Alba.
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Friday 24 May 2013
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