UEFA Euro 2017 Qualifier - Scotland - Iceland Preview: Qualification so close for the Scots

Scotland takes on Iceland at the Falkirk Stadium on Friday in their UEFA Women's Euro 2017 Qualifying Group 1 match, with both sides holding 100% records.

UEFA Euro 2017 Qualifier - Scotland - Iceland Preview: Qualification so close for the Scots
Can Scotland take a huge step towards qualification with a win over Iceland? (Photo: SFA)

Scotland. The past two Euro qualifying campaigns have ended in play-off agony. Especially in 2013, when Verónica Boquete's last gasp winner knocked them out on away goals. They were seconds away from qualification. 

But now, they are just three games away from securing their place in the UEFA Women's Euro 2017 Championship – which would be their first ever major international tournament.

They are guaranteed at least a play-off spot, and sit top of Group 1 with a 100% record, but they still have to play Iceland both home and away – and they sit three points behind Scotland, also with a 100% record. The games against Iceland will decide who wins Group 1.

The opposition - Iceland

Iceland is ranked one place higher that Scotland, and have 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 FAWSL, Frauen-Bundesliga and the NWSL to name a few and will provide Scotland with a huge challenge.

The player in form - Jane Ross

Scotland's chances of beating Iceland will be improved by the presence of striker Jane Ross, who has been on fire for her club Manchester City as well as country – and her eight goals in the qualification campaign make her the top scorer.

Of course, Kim Little will be vital in Scotland's attacking play, someone who has recently been named as the BBC World Service's Women's Footballer of the Year. Scotland's attacking play reguarly starts through her and she is often cited as the best player in the world.

Jane Ross has bene in terrific scoring form for Man City. (Photo: Sky Sports)
Jane Ross has bene in terrific scoring form for Man City. (Photo: Sky Sports)

Will Cuthbert play?

The main talking point, however, 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 12 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.

It is unlikely that Anna Signeul will give Cuthbert a start against Iceland, but Cuthbert is more likely to make her debut against Belarus on the 7th June.