Euro draw pitches Scotland against former coach Anna Signeul

Shelley Kerr and her predecessor Anna Signeul will go head-to-head in qualifying for Euro 2021 after Scotland and Finland were drawn together in Group E. Portugal, Albania and Cyprus are the other three nations involved in trying to reach the finals in England.

Scotland coach Shelley Kerr. Picture: SNS

Signeul was Scotland head coach for 12 years, taking up the post in 2005 and stepping down after Euro 2017 to join Finland. She put the systems in place which have led to the national team’s rise in fortunes.

“I don’t think Anna would have wanted to draw Scotland, and equally we didn’t particularly want to draw Finland either,” Kerr admitted.

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“There is an affinity with Anna within the national team and women’s football in Scotland in general. She has done 
a lot of good work for the 
game.

“I spoke to her and she didn’t want to play us, but for me it’s another game. Finland’s form of late suggests they haven’t hit the heights they have previously, but they’ll be ready for this because of the disappointment of their World Cup qualifying campaign.

“We’ll be able to watch Portugal at the Algarve Cup next week. I think they’ll be delighted with the draw and think they have a real chance.”

With the exception of the 
Portuguese, who were the highest ranked seeds in Pot 3, Scotland could not have plotted a much better draw. Unlike Scotland, none of the other nations have qualified for the World Cup in France.

Finland reached the semi-finals of the Euros in 2005, the only previous time the tournament has been held in England, and hosted the event four years later but are not the force they once were. Portugal beat Scotland 2-1 at Euro 2017 and are on the rise. Albania were in the same World Cup qualifying group as Kerr’s team and it was on their ground in Shkoder that the Scots made it to the finals for the first time.

Cyprus are competing in their first senior women’s tournament. The nine group winners will qualify automatically for England, with the six best runners-up also joining them.