Scotland were taken to the cleaners by England in Utrecht, with two late goals compounding what had already been a miserable night in the Stadion Galgenwaard. It was about as miserable a debut in a major championship as could be imagined for Anna Signeul’s side.
The Scots went into the game without five of the regular qualifying group starters, but even so the scoreline was unexpected. The tournament’s third favourites were a cut above, and have already as good as booked their place in the quarter finals.
Scotland will now have to pick themselves up for Sunday’s clash with Portugal in Rotterdam. They had earlier lost 2-0 to Spain.
Perversely, given all that was to follow, Scotland nearly made a sensational start with a great effort inside the opening minute. Jane Ross fired in a shot from 25 yards which her Manchester City team-mate Karen Bardsley did well to tip over the bar.
Scotland’s good start continued when Lisa Evans sent in a low cross from the right and England captain Steph Houghton, another team-mate of Ross, had to be quick off the mark to prevent the striker tapping the ball home.
Unfortunately it started to unravel for Signeul’s players in the 11th minute, and when it did England ruthlessly took advantage.
Gemma Fay, making her 201st appearance, came out well to make a smothering save on the edge of the box – but then sent a poor kick down the middle. Within seconds the lively Jordan Nobbs split the Scotland defence with an astute pass and Arsenal’s Jodie Taylor made no mistake one-on-one with Fay.
The goal threw Scotland completely off their stride and they went two behind midway through the half. England took a free-kick on the left of the box and although Caroline Weir cleared Bronze’s effort off the line, Taylor was following up to score her second.
The 31-year-old missed the entire qualifying campaign through injury but her first 26 minutes of tournament football were devastating for Signeul’s side and it was to get worse for the Scots just after the half hour.
Jill Scott sent in a shot which crashed back off the bar above Fay and from the rebound Ellen White made it 3-0.
The Scots made it to the interval without any further damage, and Signeul brought Lana Clelland on for Fiona Brown at the start of the second half. The Tavagnacco player took up the lone striking role with Ross dropping back.
That didn’t stop the damage continuing at the other end. Houghton’s long ball was headed cleverly forward by Scott and Taylor lobbed Fay for her third. She was substituted by Mark Sampson shortly after, leaving to a standing ovation from the England fans.
Ross, upon whom Scotland’s attacking hopes had rested at the start, was next to be substituted by Signeul, with Erin Cuthbert, on her 19th birthday, coming on to replace her.
There was almost a consolation goal when Clelland cut in from the right, but she put her effort into the side netting from a tight angle.
Nevertheless, nearly all the attacking threat was coming from England and Fay was again picking the ball out of the net when Jordan Nobbs’ crisp volley made it five.
Just as it seemed as if it couldn’t get any worse, it did. Deep into injury time Houghton headed a corner towards Toni Duggan and the substitute beat Fay to make it six.