It was an emotional end to Scotland Women’s European Championship dreams after they failed to win by two goals against Spain yesterday evening to progress from Group D.
In their first ever major championships at this level, it has been a major learning curve for Anna Signeul’s side and despite a good win against their Spanish opponents, it wasn’t enough to see them continue in this summer’s event, held in Holland.
With Spain knowing Scotland had to come and attack from the off, they looked to seize their opportunity early on, but, Scotland’s number one, Gemma Fay, was up to the task, keeping out efforts from Torrejon and Meseguer.
Good work from Mariona Caldentey saw her tee up Amanda Sampedro but her effort flew wide before Fay saved headers from Hermoso and Paredes as Scotland lived dangerously.
Controversy occurred when Fay handled the ball outside the area, with the goalkeeper only receiving a yellow card by match official Jana Adamkova, despite the appeals from the Spaniards for a heftier punishment.
Then, on 42 minutes, after withstanding so much pressure, Scotland got the break they so desperately craved and needed when Erin Cuthbert latched onto the end of a long ball before firing in a rare effort at goal by the Scots, which goalkeepr Panos was equal to, but, her save fell to the feet of Caroline Weir, with the Liverpool Ladies midfielder firing home to give Signeul’s side the advantage heading into the interval.
Despite the best efforts of defender Paredes who had got back onto the goal-line, the 22-year-old from Dunfermline managed to squeeze the ball through the legs of the Spaniard to open her account at the Euros.
Spain were the first to flex their muscles in the second period when substitute Maria Paz forced good blocks from Frankie Brown before hitting the side-netting with a header. The lively forward continued to persist and came close again minutes later when she fired an effort across Fay’s goal but it couldn’t creep in at the far post.
With England winning against Portugal, the Scots knew their destiny was in their own hands. All they needed was to win by two clear goals. With wave after wave of Spanish attacks, however, the Scots were pinned back into their own area.
Fay again was forced into action when she saved Putellas while Meseguer smashed the bar and Paz was denied a goal due to the anticipation and positional skills of Ifeoma Dieke, who cleared the danger off the line.
Panos – a virtual bystander in the second half so far – was called into action late on when Lisa Evans had a dig from range before the final chance of the match fell to Leanne Crichton but her header went over the bar.
A one goal margin wasn’t enough for Anna Signeul’s side who head home with three points on the board. Tonight’s visitors pip the Scots to qualification from Group D; one goal was the difference in the end, with Scotland’s heavy defeat to England in the opening match possibly now coming back to haunt them with such small margin’s being the difference.
Scotland Women 1-0 Spain Women
6. Love (Brown 73′)
5. Ross (Clelland 45′)
13. Panos Garcia-Villamil
3. Torrejon Moya
5. Pereira Cejudo
4. Paredes Fernandez
21. Ouhabi (Corredera Rueda 56′)
8. Sampedro Bustos
15. Meseguer Bellido
14. Losada Gomez
22. Caldentey Oliver (Latorre Vinals 79′)
10. Hermoso Fuentes (Villas Dono 45′)
11. Putellas Segura
1. Gallardo Nunez
2. Jiminez Delgado
6. Torrecilla Reyes
7. Corredera Rueda
9. Villas Dono
17. Garcia Perez
18. Gonzalez Rodgrigues
19. Latorre Vinals
20. Leon Cebrian