Scotland women beat Switzerland to keep World Cup hopes alive
Scotland recorded the victory they wanted but not by the two-goal margin they craved after beating Switzerland 2-1 in their women’s World Cup qualifier in Paisley.
Backed by a record crowd of 4,098 for a Scotland women’s international, Shelley Kerr’s side scored twice in the opening five minutes but the Swiss hit back quickly and their goal keeps them ahead of Scotland due to their better head-to-head record in the campaign.
The result means Scotland’s hopes of automatic qualification for next summer’s finals for the first time in their history hinge on them bettering Switzerland’s result against Poland on Tuesday when they travel to Albania.
It had all started so well and it took the home side just 70 seconds to make the breakthrough.
A high press from Shelley Kerr’s side put the visitors under pressure and with the Swiss struggling to clear their lines the ball broke to Kim Little who teed up Erin Cuthbert on the edge of the box and she fired the ball low past Gaelle Thalmann to give Scotland the lead.
The visitors were stunned and Scotland’s fairytale start got even better as they doubled their lead in the fifth minute. It was all so simple as from a throw-in down the left, a quick exchange of passes ended with Little driving into the box before seeing her shot deflect off a Swiss defender past the helpless Thalmann.
The goal sparked wild celebrations among the home side but their two-goal advantage stood for just 80 seconds as the visitors broke down the left before a cutback found Lara Dickenmann in space and her shot deflected off Jennifer Beattie past Lee Alexander in the Scotland goal.
The goal halted Scotland’s quick start to the game and allowed Switzerland to settle into the game and it took a goal-line clearance from Jennifer Beattie to deny Ramona Bachmann from scoring an equaliser for the visitors.
Martina Voss-Tecklenburg’s side ended the half showing why they lead the group with a 100% record as they put the Scots under pressure and Kerr will have been relieved to reach the break with her side still leading.
The second half was a tense affair with the visitors putting the hosts under pressure but without managing to test Scotland goalkeeper Alexander and it was the home side who found their rhythm once more in the closing stages.
Caroline Weir saw her 25 yard free kick saved by Thalmann as the Scots pushed for the goal they needed to take their destiny into their own hands but despite a late flurry Kerr’s side could not find a third goal.