Scotland head coach Shelley Kerr said she was not too despondent despite a below-par performance in Schaffhausen yesterday, when her team barely laid a glove on a better Switzerland side in their 2019 World Cup qualifier.
“It was tough for us in the first half,” Kerr admitted. “I thought we struggled to cope with their pace and that caused us a few problems.
“We made a couple of tactical changes in the second half and that made us much better. It meant we could drag them out and get Kim [Little] on the ball. That helped us keeping possession against a very good team and that’s the pleasing aspect, even though we didn’t have an end product.
“I still feel positive in terms of the result against a quality team. Now we have to recover and get ready for a big game against Poland on Tuesday.”
The result gives Switzerland maximum points from their opening five games and extends their lead over Scotland and Poland, who have played two games fewer, to nine. The most disappointing aspect of the night for Kerr’s side was that, although they enjoyed the bulk of the possession in the second half, they barely threatened the Swiss.
As expected there was a first start in 13 months for Kim Little, but not in her preferred position of No 10. Instead the Liverpool captain was alongside Liverpool’s Caroline Weir in front of the back four. Kerr’s requirement for a more solid shape also saw her play three central defenders, with Sophie Howard moving out to right back and Rachel Corsie and Jen Beattie in the middle.
The first 25 minutes were uncomfortable, with Switzerland enjoying most of the possession. Danger player Ramona Bachmann, who plays for Chelsea, and Alisha Lehmann came closest to scoring, but Lee Alexander made fine saves from both.
Something had to give, and it did just after the half hour. Swiss captain Lara Dickenmann, who was dominating the game in midfield, held off Beattie’s challenge and sent a low shot beyond Alexander.
The same player nearly got a second just over a minute later, but this time her effort went past the post.
Just about the only consolation from a one-sided opening 45 minutes was that Scotland weren’t further behind, but although they enjoyed much more possession at the start of the second half none of it was hurting the Swiss. Jane Ross finally got a sniff of goal on the hour, but Czech referee Olga Zadinova pulled the Manchester City striker up for a foul on underworked goalkeeper Gaelle Thalmann.
Although the Swiss looked happy to sit on their narrow lead, substitute Marilena Widmer came close to making it two when she skinned Emma Mitchell, forcing Alexander to make another important save.
The third minute of time added on was Scotland’s most dangerous of the game, but the Swiss held out for a well deserved win.