The Scotland women’s squad made history today, qualifying for the finals of a major tournament for the first time.
Anna Signeul’s side made it to the finals of UEFA Women’s EURO 2017 before playing their final qualifier, thanks to Portugal's win over Finland. That Group 2 result ensured the Fins could not finish on a higher points total than Scotland.
With the teams in Group 3 already unable to catch Scotland, they needed just one more result to go in their favour to confirm that they would avoid the play-offs (contested by the two second-placed teams with the lowest points).
Just one more point in their final match against Iceland next Tuesday would have been enough to seal qualification regardless of other results, but Scotland now travel to Reykjavik knowing that they are through to the finals alongside the home side.
Under Signeul’s guidance, Scotland have previously reached the play-offs for three tournaments – UEFA EURO 2009 and 2013, and FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015, and have now taken that crucial final step.
Anna Signeul said: “This is an incredible moment for the players and staff, but also for the women’s game in Scotland. It’s a bit surreal that when the moment came we were not on the pitch, but we won’t complain about that.”
“This group of players, and many others that we have worked with over the years, have worked so hard to achieve this. We have experienced some fantastic highs in previous campaigns, and the pain of missing out at the final hurdle, and it’s all been worth it to take this final step.
“For now, we are 100% focused on preparations for our match in Iceland next week. We will have some time to appreciate the achievement after that, but not long, as we have a finals to prepare for!”
Scottish FA chief executive, Stewart Regan, said: “On behalf of everyone at the Scottish FA, I’m delighted to congratulate Anna, the players, and the staff, on this wonderful achievement.
“So much hard work and dedication has gone in to achieving this goal. After coming so close in the past, I’m sure everyone connected with the squad will savour this moment, which I have no doubt will prove to be pivotal in the development of women’s football in Scotland.”
Reported by Scottish FA
Pictures: Scottish FA