Fond memories of beating England may help for first meeting at Euros

Rachel Corsie with team mate Fiona Brown as Scotland train pre game against England
Rachel Corsie with team mate Fiona Brown as Scotland train pre game against England
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Like many of her international team-mates, Rachel Corsie has not had her troubles to seek in the build up to Scotland’s historic first match in a major tournament tonight. The Seattle Reign central defender is, however, confident of lining up against England in the Stadion Galgenwaard.

The opening Group A game is eagerly awaited by Corsie who, assuming there are no last minute complications, is expected to be moved forward to the holding midfield position in Anna Signeul’s 4-1-4-1 formation. It’s a role she occupied during qualifying, and one that will allow her to shore up the back four when required against a very strong England side.

The 27-year-old has had recurring knee problems since last July, missing the last five months of 2016 and also having to sit out a number of club and international games this year.

She last played in the first half of the friendly in Sweden in the middle of last month.

“Truthfully it has been a really difficult 12 months,” she admitted. “It has felt like it has been one thing after another. But there have also been a lot of positive things. The start of the year was a turning point after knee surgery.

“I’ve had a really good four weeks preparation and this tournament is something we’ll remember for the rest of our lives.”

Corsie has fond memories of playing against the Auld Enemy. With the normal captain, Gemma Fay, being given a rare seat on the bench in a match between the sides back in 2011, a 21-year-old Corsie was handed the armband for the day. Scotland won 2-0.

“Captaining the side against England is something I’ll always remember,” Corsie said. “It was the first time for 30 years we’d beaten them.”

The scorers that day, Kim Little and Jen Beattie, count among her closest friends but neither is in the Netherlands with the squad. They are among four players out with injury, while it was confirmed yesterday that a fifth, Hayley Lauder, has not recovered from a hamstring tear and will miss tonight’s game also.

Little is missing having suffered a training ground ACL injury at Arsenal, the club she rejoined from Seattle Reign at the end of last year. She, too, is from Aberdeen and is the same age is Corsie. Yet despite their shared backgrounds and schoolgirl football, they were barely aware of each other in the north-east.

It was only when Corsie joined her fellow Scot at Seattle in 2015 that a deep friendship was forged.

“She called me the day it happened at training,” Corsie pointed out. “We are close and I was upset as her friend more than anything.

“Kim has already achieved so much, and is still young enough to be able to achieve more in the future. She’s had an extremely positive outlook since it happened, and that’s a credit to her. We’ve been in contact probably every day since.

“It’s nice that I can still support her, and she can still support me and the rest of the team as well.”

Had Corsie not suffered her own ACL agony in 2012, Scotland might well have qualified for Euro 2013 instead of having to wait four more years. She was stretchered off following a robust challenge on Spain’s best player, Veronica Boquete, in the second leg of the play-off for the final place in Sweden.

Even so, the Scots were heading through on away goals until the very last kick of the ball in extra time when Spain squeezed a winner. Almost inevitably, Boquete, who Corsie would have been marking, was the scorer.

The defender, who was the Glasgow City captain at the time, was still in rehabilitation the last time England and Scotland met, in 2013. That game ended in a 4-4 draw.