Scots women upbeat for play-off despite heavy loss

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SCOTLAND WOMEN were on the receiving end of a French masterclass at Tynecastle last night as Anna Signeul’s side were routed 5-0.

World Cup and Olympic semi-finalists France delivered a football lesson but Scotland midfielder Kim Little believes her team will have an easier time of it no matter who they get in tomorrow’s UEFA Women’s Euro 2013 play-off draw.

She said: “France are in my view the best team in Europe just now in terms of the way they play the game. We know that we will not come up against a side with such quality in the play-offs and we believe we can get to the Euros now.”

The French completely dominated the match and went close to opening the scoring inside the first 30 seconds when Eugenie Le Sommer picked out Marie-Laure Delie in the penalty area, but her shot was just off target.

Tynecastle has been the Scots’ home for their Euro 2013 qualifying campaign and in the past they have been backed by a large, boisterous following, but the early kick-off appeared to have put off many from attending and the atmosphere suffered as a consequence. The visitors took just 17 minutes to break the Scottish resolve as Delie strolled through the heart of the home defence before calmly slotting beyond Gemma Fay. Signeul’s girls were unable to cope with the class of the French and Camille Abily went close to doubling her side’s advantage with a long-range pile-driver that crashed back into play off the crossbar – Delie slamming the rebounding into the side netting.

Bruno Bini’s team did eventually get the second goal their play richly deserved after Fay had pushed a fine effort from Gaetane Thiney around her near post and from the resultant corner kick, Le Sommer headed in. Scotland’s best opportunity of the night came soon after when Turbine Potsdam forward Lisa Evans drove at full-back Corine Franco, getting in behind the visitors 
defence before lifting the ball over Celine Deville and just off target. The French now appeared to be treating the game not unlike a training ground exercise, yet they could’ve scored again when Le Sommer found herself goal-side of the home defence only to be denied by the legs of Fay.

They wouldn’t be denied any longer and on 63 minutes Louisa Necib capped off a fine performance with a sensational solo run and finish that left Fay helpless. French media have labelled Necib the ‘female Zidane’ and given the undeniable quality of her performance, it’s easy to understand why.

Sixty seconds later it was 4-0 as Le Sommer latched onto Camille Catala’s cut-back before dancing around the tackle of Rachel Corsie and firing beyond Fay. The final goal of the evening arrived on 72 minutes. Delie waltzed through a static home defence before calmly finishing for her second goal of the evening. With the game drawing to a climax Le Sommer was denied her hat-trick when Rachel Corsie hooked off the line after the forward had dinked the ball over Fay.

Scotland: Fay, Jones (Beattie 72’), Love, Lauder, Little (Fernon 83’), Sneddon, Ross, Corsie, Evans, Brown, Mitchell (Grant 69’). Substitutes not used: Lynn, Small, McSorley, Ross.

France: Deville, Renard, Boulleau, Meilleroux (Soyer 61’), Soubeyrand (Catala 61’), Franco, Le Sommer, Abily (Thomis 79’), Necib, Thiney, Delie.  Substitutes not used: Bouhaddi, Georges, Bompastor, Morel.

Referee: Silvia Tea Spinelli (ITA).

Attendance: 731.