Shelley Kerr couldn’t have asked for any more from her players as they gave their best performance of the World Cup qualifying campaign to beat Group 2 top seeds Switzerland at the Simple Digital Arena.
A further goal would have put the Scots in charge of the group but both now have 18 points from seven games and play their final matches on Tuesday, with Scotland in Albania and Switzerland in Poland. While the Swiss have the advantage in goal difference they have the tougher task against the third-seeded Poles on Tuesday.
Manchester City midfielder Caroline Weir, who came agonisingly close to scoring a third goal near the end, said: “We knew we had to start quickly and couldn’t have asked for anything better with two goals in six minutes.
“Switzerland obviously scored a goal soon after but we can be proud of ourselves – there were some great performances out there. Now it’s all to play for on Tuesday and we’ve given ourselves a good chance. I thought my free-kick near the end might have gone in – it might have on another day. We could have done with another goal to take control of the group, but that’s the way football is.
“We’ll need to go to Albania and score as many goals as possible and see what happens.”
Scotland made one change to the side which started in the 3-2 win over Poland – Manchester City’s Claire Emslie coming in for Fiona Brown in attack. The Swiss had their preparations disrupted when one of their defenders was injured in the warm-up and Naomi Megroz stepped up from the bench.
It was to prove significant as the right-back gave away possession cheaply with her first touch, allowing Kim Little to feed Erin Cuthbert for the opening goal after only two minutes.
It got even better with six minutes on the clock as Scotland went two up. This time it was Little who scored the goal with a deflected shot which beat Gaelle Thalmann.
The home side couldn’t have expected such a start in their wildest dreams, but it took the Group 2 leaders only 60 seconds to respond. Captain Lara Dickenmann, who scored the only goal in the earlier game between the sides, putting the ball past Lee Alexander again.
The Scots nearly restored their two-goal advantage after 14 minutes. Little took a free-kick which Jen Beattie headed back into the centre at the far post – but Rachel Corsie’s well-stuck volley flew over the bar.
Switzerland, and particularly with attacks down the left, got more dangerous as the first half progressed and should have equalised nine minutes from half-time. Chelsea’s Ramona Bachmann dinked the ball over Alexander, but not hard enough and Beattie cleared off the line. With so much at stake for both sides the second half started in a far more cautious fashion than the first, but Weir came close with a fine effort from 25 yards. Corsie, who received a presentation for reaching 100 caps in the previous game, then had a shot blocked from Weir’s free-kick as her side chased the goal that would make all the difference.
It very nearly came 15 minutes from the end when Weir sent another free-kick round the wall, but Thalmann dived to her right to make the save. The home side ended the game stronger, but the elusive third goal just failed to arrive.