In front of Scotland’s biggest crowd since 2014, 2,690, Scotland fell to a highly disappointing 4-0 defeat to Iceland. Scotland never really got going, but how should we view the defeat.
Learning from Defeats
It is never wise to compare England and Scotland in football. But there is a lesson from their progression over the past few years.
In November 2014, England played Germany at Wembley, their first ever international at the national stadium. And they lost 3-0 and were deemed to be tactically naive.
Six months later, they learnt from their mistakes, and finished third in the World Cup.
This is not a comparison between England and Scotland. I’m mainly making the fact that sometimes you have to suffer a moment of pain and disappointment to move forward.
Could it be nerves? This was a possibility. This was one of Scotland’s biggest games in a long time, there had been a big build up there had been a larger crowd than normal. And, with a series of agonising qualification defeats in past campagins, maybe that took a toll too?
Whilst you can’t blame entirely, it is clear that it contributed to Iceland’s strong start and taking the lead. And once Iceland took the lead, that led to the visitors gaining confidence.
Has Iceland Won The Group?
Has the victory seen Iceland win Group 1? In Iceland’s last three games in the Group, they play both Macedonia and Slovenia. Slovenia will be tricky, but against Macedonia, you expect Iceland to beat them heavily. This will make the goal difference go in Iceland’s favour.
But, going into the final game where Scotland play Iceland away, Iceland could go into that game three points ahead of Scotland. This would mean to win the group, Scotland would have to win by a four-goal margin. Hard, against a side yet to concede in the group, but not impossible. And the Scots may already be assured of their place at the Euros
Currently, Scotland sit as the second-best runners-up in the Qualification process which will see them automatically qualify for the Euros, and a win against Belarus on Tuesday may secure one of the top-six runners-up spots.
Sometimes, when a side plays badly, we all get down in the dumps. It’s over. Terrible. And maybe some expletives.
But, I think the reason why it hurts, is because we know Scotland is better. That isn’t some arrogant boast, it’s backed up in Scotland’s performances.
Scotland are a very good side, made up of great players. Every single player in that starting lineup has bags of experience, and are winners. Lisa Evans, Frauen-Bundesliga Champions. Emma Mitchell, FA Women’s Cup Winner. Kim Little, BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year. That’s to name a few.
What is clear, is that Scotland need to work out how to unsettle teams like Iceland, to make them nervous. If they had been able to use the pace of Lisa Evans, maybe get Jane Ross into a couple of dangerous scoring opportunities early on – maybe Iceland would have been hesitant.
This is what Scotland are possibly missing. That final key to unlock the top tier of sides.
But, there should be no negativity in Scotland going to Belarus. Or Iceland.
Qualification. It’s still in their hands.