Play-off heartache for Scotland Women in Rotterdam

Kirsty Smith
Kirsty Smith
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Scotland Women’s World Cup dreams were shattered last night in Rotterdam, where they were beaten 2-0 by the Netherlands in their play-off, semi-final, second leg.

The Scots’ 4-1 aggregate defeat ensured they suffered play-off heartache yet again after falling at the same stage in their last two European Championship qualifying campaigns.

It was always going to be a difficult challenge for Anna Signeul’s girls to overcome a classy and physical Dutch side on their own turf.

Whilst Holland didn’t dominate the same way they did at Tynecastle on Saturday, the pace of the power of their play ensured another torrid evening for the Scottish defence.

The explosive Manos Melis was once again the architect of Scotland’s torment, the winger setting up an opportunity for Danielle van de Donk early on that Ifeoma Dieke, who was celebrating her 100th cap, had to clear from her goal line.

Goalkeeper Gemma Fay then produced a terrific save to deny Vivianne Miedema before Scotland’s best chance of the night saw Jo Love through on goal, only to tamely fire straight at Dutch goalkeeper Loes Geurts.

The deadlock was broken on 51 minutes when Van de Donk picked out Lieke Martens, who unleashed an unstoppable drive high into the net.

A cross-cum-shot by Miedema struck the Scottish crossbar before Fay produced a stunning save to deny an equally impressive strike by Melis as Holland piled on the pressure.

Any lingering hope of a Scotland comeback was extinguished on 76 minutes when Frankie Fantom-Brown and Dieke made a mess of clearing the ball on their own 18-yard line, allowing Melis to nip in and stroke the ball beyond Fay.

Hibs Ladies defender Kirsty Smith was given a late run-out to earn her first senior cap and Scotland were denied a late consolation when Jennifer Beattie put Kim Little through on goal, but Geurts saved at the midfielder’s feet.

Netherlands: Geurts, van Lunteren, Van der Gragt, Van der Berg, Worm, Dekker, Van de Donk (Bakker 95’), Spitse (Middag 84), Malis, Miedema (Van de Ven 89), Martens. Substitutes not used: Van Veenendaat, Bito, Hoogandijk, Van den Heiligenberg.

Scotland: Fay, Mitchell, Beattie, Dieke, Fantom-Brown, Corsie, Little, Love (McSorley 66’), Weir (Smith 79’), Evans, Ross. Substitutes not used: Lynn, Arnot, Sneddon, Crichton, Murray.

Referee: Esther Staubli (Sui).