Scotland’s manager Anna Signeul named her latest squad for the upcoming Euro Qualifiers against Iceland and Belarus.
Currently, Scotland sits top of Group 1 and have already guaranteed themselves a play-off place as they try and qualify for their first ever major international tournament. Having won all five of their games, the match against Iceland is an intriguing tie. Both sides share a 100% record and both sides have a similar world ranking. This will also be Scotland’s final qualifier at home, and hopefully, there will be a bumper crowd at the Falkirk Stadium on the 3rd June.
With six runners-up automatically qualifying for the tournament, Scotland should feel confident of their eventual qualification, but they would clearly prefer to win the group and a win against Iceland would make this nearly guaranteed.
Unlike Scotland, Iceland has experience of playing in major international tournaments, having qualified for both the 2009 and 2013 editions of the UEFA Women’s Euros. In the 2009 tournament, they lost all three of their group games. But in 2013, they reached the Quarter-Finals, having beaten the Netherlands, drawn with Norway and lost to Germany. Their run, however, came to an end in the Quarters as they lost 4-0 to Sweden.
They possess plenty of experience in their squad, with Hólmfríður Magnúsdóttir and Margarét Lára Viðarsdóttir both having over 100 caps each, with Viðarsdóttir scoring 75 goals. Their players have experience in playing in the WSL, Frauen-Bundesliga and the NSWL to name a few and will provide Scotland with a huge challenge.
After Iceland at home, Scotland then travels to Belarus on the 7th June. Belarus has been eliminated from the qualification process, unable to even reach the play-offs and earlier on, Scotland had beaten them 7-0. In that match, Scotland’s goals came from Jane Ross’ brace, Caroline Weir, Rachel Corsie, Lisa Evans – and two from Glasgow City’s Jo Love.
It is possible, that on this day, Scotland could win the group. Scotland would have needed to have beaten Iceland, and then defeat Belarus – whilst Iceland would have to drop points in their game against Macedonia. This scenario is highly unlikely, as Macedonia has conceded 28 goals in their five defeats.
The majority of the squad play outside Scotland, with only eight players out of 20 plying their trade in the SWPL.
The most notable absentee in the squad is Hayley Lauder who has missed recent Glasgow City games through injury.
But there is plenty of experience in the squad. Captain and goalkeeper Gemma Fay will win her 193nd cap if she plays in both matches, as she approaches the 200-cap mark. Defender Jennifer Beattie, who plays for Manchester City, has a chance to make her century of appearances, sitting on 99 at the moment.
And, of course, Scotland possess possibly the world’s best player in Kim Little who once again receives a call-up. Little, who has been nominated for the BBC’s World Women’s Footballer of the Year for both 2015 and 2016 currently has 115 caps, and will be instrumental if Scotland is to win their next two qualifiers.
Up front, Manchester City’s Jane Ross has been on fire for both club and country, as is currently the top scorer in the qualifiers with eight goals.
Cuthbert Gets A Call Up
However, the main talking point is the call up of 17-year old Erin Cuthbert. Cuthbert, who joined Glasgow City from Rangers in January 2015, has impressed numerous pundits over the past twelve months as she has become an integral part of the City squad, and won the club’s Young Player of the Year last season.
In 2015, she often played in a deeper role, but since the departure of Denise O’Sullivan to Houston Dash, Cuthbert has been deployed in a more attacking role – playing in any of the three positions behind the main striker.
There had been talk about a possible call-up for Hibernian’s Abigail Harrison who continues to light up the SWPL with her performances.
Whether Cuthbert receives her international debut is yet to be seen, but what is clear is that she is a promising and exciting talent for the future. Scotland has a lot of exciting talent in their Under-19 and Under-17 squads. The key will be transforming them into international players, and keeping them playing in the SWPL.
The other uncapped players in the squad are Lee Alexander and Zoe Ness.
Goalkeepers: Lee Alexander (Mallbackens IF), Gemma Fay (Glasgow City – Captain), Shannon Lynn (Vittsjö GIK).
Defenders: Jennifer Beattie (Manchester City), Rachel Corsie (Seattle Reign), Ifeoma Dieke (Vittsjö GIK), Emma Mitchell (Arsenal), Joelle Murray (Hibernian), Kirsty Smith (Hibernian).
Midfielders: Leanne Crichton (Notts County), Erin Cuthbert (Glasgow City), Kim Little (Seattle Reign), Jo Love (Glasgow City), Leanne Ross (Glasgow City), Caroline Weir (Liverpool).
Forwards: Lizzie Arnot (Hibernian), Lisa Evans (Bayern Munich), Christie Murray (Celtic), Zoe Ness (Mallbackens IF), Jane Ross (Manchester City)
You can read our profiles of the squad here: Scotland Squad Profiles