World Cup Qualifier: Scotland 2-1 Switzerland
Credit: Kunjan Malde

Scotland beat Switzerland in their World Cup qualifying encounter in Paisley. Each goal came in the opening ten minutes as Scotland went 2-0 up before the Swiss hit back. 

Shelley Kerr’s side looked ready as they took on the field, and that readiness would show itself quicker than expected.

Three quick goals

After only two minutes Scotland's Erin Cuthbert got the ball from Lisa Evans and took a shot from the centre of the box, placing the ball in the bottom left corner. It was a wonderful build up which saw the hosts rewarded with a goal.

Switzerland went back into a huddle before kick-off, clearly shaken after the quick goal, but only three minutes later Scotland added another.

This time it was Kim Little who pulled off a cheeky dribble and took a shot with her left from the side of the box. It deflects off a Swiss foot and sends the keeper in the wrong direction, allowing the ball to sneak into the left corner, with the assist once again going to Evans.

But it would not take long before the Swiss pulled one back. After kick-off, Switzerland captain Lara Dickenmann cut straight through the defence and put it skilfully behind Lee Alexander in goal. She scrambled but couldn't get to the ball in time.

After the third goal in seven minutes, the waves on the stormy sea started to calm down somewhat, as Scotland continued to keep possession and push, but they couldn't seem to find the ball through to get on target.

It was an intense start to the game and it was clear that both teams understood exactly what was expected of them on the night.

Their directions were clear and both teams were striving to fulfil their expectations. The Scotland team had a lot of power in their running and they kept a high defensive line. Their passing game was strong and they didn't go for any unnecessary shots, instead passing their way through the Swiss defence, who seemed more content sitting back and defending, which they were doing very well.

A brief Swiss attack was cleared, only for another one to quickly follow suit, as Switzerland were given a free-kick that Ramona Bachmann lined up behind. It is well executed and headed by Switzerland’s tallest player, defender Rahel Kiwic, but is blocked by Scotland and eventually cleared.

Tension rises

Scotland continued to keep the pressure on the Swiss and were hunting after every ball. The hosts were playing disciplined but it was a strong Swiss defence they had to penetrate and after the first three goals the game was quieter. The atmosphere on the pitch became more and more aggravated and it showed that there were a lot of emotions riding on the game.

A smooth pass to Switzerland’s Bachmann saw her run with the ball, skilfully losing her defenders, only to then get it slightly wrong, allowing Rachel Corsie to clear almost on the line.

Another attack lead to a Swiss corner and a header which Alexander was easily able to grab on to. Scotland continued to up the pressure but Switzerland came through eventually, this time leading to another corner and a scramble in the box.

The second half picked up right where it left off with both teams continuing to push.

The Swiss began to press harder and the Scottish defence had a tough time keeping the attacking waves at bay, with a lot of scrambling down the line and last minute clearing of balls.

The Scots had lost a bit of the cutting edge that put them ahead in the game and Switzerland had clawed their way back, confident in the knowledge that the result 2-1 would work in their favour.

Everyone knew what was at stake in Paisley and Cuthbert demonstrated just how much Scotland wanted it by embarking on a forceful run down the line, only to be stopped by Switzerland’s Noelle Maritz.

A weak Scotland pass was then intercepted by Switzerland and played through wonderfully to Bachmann, who was so close to getting a hold of the ball.

The Switzerland manager Martina Voss-Tecklenburg was stood on the edge of her technical area all night, shouting instructions and gesticulating. In comparison, the Scotland manager Shelley Kerr was more drawn back, watching from her bench.

No luck in the later stages of the game

Scotland were rolling the ball between them, getting out of tricky situations after the other but not really getting it past those vital last yards to go on goal.

The Swiss started to drag the game late on, taking a long time for goal kicks and throw-ins, which was met with frustrated looks from the hosts.

Scotland were down to 20 minutes to seriously dent Switzerland’s dreams of direct qualification to the World Cup 2019 in France and take matters into their own hands.

Cuthbert displayed her brilliance by taking the ball down with her shoulder, passing it forward to herself through the thick of the Swiss defence, only to be dragged down right outside the box. Caroline Weir took the free-kick and placed the shot low, but the attempt is saved excellently by Swiss goalkeeper Gaëlle Thalmann who managed to reach the ball with her feet to clear it out of danger.

Another Swiss attack saw Dickenmann being given loads of space to dribble in the box before playing it out on the wing. The guests had stepped up their game in the second half, but hadn't forced the Scottish goalkeeper into any outrageous saves.

Weir won another free-kick in the defensive half in the last minute of the game, but it came to nothing.

As the whistle blew, it is Switzerland topping the group still, meaning Scotland does not have the automatic qualification spot in their own hands.

All they can do now is to win in Albania on Tuesday, and hope that other results go their way as Switzerland take on Poland in the last game.

"I couldn’t have asked for any more from the team, I thought they were magnificent," said Scotland boss Kerr after the game.

"We’ve just come and beat a really, really good Swiss team with some fantastic players, who are playing in some of the best clubs in Europe," she exclaimed.

Kerr proudly concluded: "We’ve got an extremely talented team as well but I think the magnitude of the game here, to come in front of a record crowd for Scotland, to put on the performance that we did, I’m extremely proud."