This evening sees Scotland try and make a giant step towards qualifying for the UEFA Women’s Euro 2017 as they take on Slovenia at the Paisley 2021 Stadium.
Scotland currently sits top of Group 1 with a 100% record, three points ahead of their rivals Iceland who have one game in hand. In their four qualifiers played so far, they have scored 24 goals and conceded just one. This included their previous qualifier where they thrashed Macedonia 10-0.
Their opponents Slovenia should not be taken lightly, though. They sit third in the group, but when Scotland played them away from home, it was only an inspired Kim Little hat-trick that saw them pick up a 3-0 win. Slovenia is a difficult side to break down, and Scotland may have to be patient in their search for the break-through.
Due to the expansion of the tournament, the chances of Scotland reaching their first major tournament – and ending a sequence of painful play-off defeats – have been increased. Now, each of the eight group winners automatically qualifies, as do the six best-placed runners-up. The remaining two runners-up will play each other for the final spot in the tournament that will be held in the Netherlands. Due to the erratic nature of the qualifying scheduling, it is hard to know where the second placed teams all sit, but Scotland has a great chance of winning the group.
The top seed in Scotland’s group is Iceland who is ranked 20th in the world, just one ahead of Scotland meaning that there is a real possibility they can win this group.
If Scotland beat Slovenia, they will be six points ahead of Iceland – who admittedly have two games in hand, although one of those will be played four days after the Slovenia match.
Scotland and Iceland meet twice in the final three qualifiers, the first at home in June. Win the home game, and Scotland will be in pole position to win the group. Win that game, and they will be pretty much assured of a place in Netherlands.