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Scotland turn attention to play-offs
 Women's Football News 18 Sep 2014
 
Sweden 2 (Sjogran 7, Schelin 76) Scotland 0
Scotland will compete in their first ever FIFA Women's World Cup play-off after a flattering 2-0 victory for the home side in Gothenburg. 
 
Sweden captain Caroline Seger cleared off the line twice during a period of sustained second half pressure from Scotland, before Lotta Schelin added to Therese Sjögran's early effort to end the visitors' hopes of automatic qualification.
 
Anna Signeul's side had guaranteed a minimum of a play-off place with a 9-0 win over Faroe Islands at Fir Park on Saturday, as they came to the end of a campaign in which the only points dropped were against the world number five side, Sweden. After back-to-back Euro play-offs, this will be Scotland's first appearance at this stage to determine World Cup qualification.
 
Scotland knew that a win of 3-1 or better at the Gamla Ullevi Stadium tonight would see them pip Sweden to top spot in Group Four, and qualification for the finals in Canada next summer. There was a fantastic atmosphere in the women's national stadium in the build up to kick off, with a good smattering of Saltires amongst the crowd of just over 9,000.
 
Scotland started brightly, but found themselves behind within seven minutes. Sweden's talismanic striker Lotta Schelin sent in a long ball, which was met by Therese Sjögran, who sent a looping header over Gemma Fay in the Scotland goal.
 
Scotland had a chance to equalise immediately afterwards. Joanne Love broke in to the box and twisted and turned to create space. Her ball found Jane Ross, who went in to the match as joint top scorer across the European qualification groups, but Hedvig Lindahl gathered her effort.
 
Caroline Weir and Ross both had efforts, but Weir's header went wide under pressure from Hanna Folkesson, and Ross' header from a Kim Little free kick was straight at Lindahl
 
Schelin had a great chance to double Sweden's lead when she raced clear of the Scotland defence. Fay came out and did enough to force her out wide, and her shot hit off the post from a tight angle.
 
As the half drew to a close, Fay pulled off a superb save to deny Schelin. The Scotland defence failed to clear a cross in from the left, and as the ball fell to the lethal striker, Fay got down to block her effort from point blank range.
 
Sweden had an immediate chance to double their lead after the break. Weir fouled Asllani on right wing and the free kick was blocked. The ball fell to Seger on the edge of the box, but she sent it high and wide.
 
Scotland looked determined to restore parity and put Sweden under increasing pressure. Lauder beat two players on the left wing and her cross in to the box was nodded down by Weir to the feet of Ross, but she couldn't get a shot away. The ball eventually fell to Leanne Crichton, whose effort from outside the box was saved by Lindahl.
 
Scotland had Sweden penned back in to their own half, and Little almost grabbed the equaliser when she unleashed a shot inside the box, but she lost her footing and the shot was deflected over.
 
Little then won the ball in midfield and raced towards goal. Her attempted cross was blocked by Seger and out for a corner. Jennifer Beattie connected with Lauder's corner but her header was cleared off the line by Seger. The ball fell to Weir, whose shot was also cleared off the line by the Sweden captain.
 
Crichton had a great chance when she rose above the Swedish defence to get a head on a Love cross, but Lindahl got down low to save. Little was causing Sweden problems, and had them scrambling to regroup when she outpaced Berglund to race clear on goal, but her shot was cleared.
 
Seger presented Scotland with a great opportunity when she upended Little on the edge of the box. Lauder took the free kick after a Little dummy, and her bending effort was just kept out by Lindahl.
 
Scotland were left to rue those missed chances when Schelin put the result out of sight. She got on to the end of a Folkesson ball to slot a low shot past Fay, and equal Hanna Ljungberg's all time Swedish record of 72 international goals.
 
Holland, Italy and Ukraine are the three other teams in the the play-off draw next Tuesday, 23rd September. The draw is seeded, so Scotland will face either Holland or Italy in the two-legged play-off semi-finals on 25/26 and 29/30 October. The winners of those two ties will then meet on 22/23 and 26/27 November to decide the final European qualifier. 
 
Sweden: Hedvig Lindahl, Emma Berglund, Hanna Folkesson, Caroline Seger, Nilla Fischer, Therese Sjogran (sub Olivia Schough 88mins), Lina Nilsson, Lotta Schelin, Kosovare Asllani (sub Emma Lundh 81mins), Sofia Jakobsson (sub Lisa Dahlkvist 68mins), Elin Rubensson. Subs not used: Carola Soberg, Linda Sembrant, Sara Thunebro, Malin Diaz.

Scotland: Gemma Fay, Frankie Brown, Hayley Lauder, Ifeoma Dieke, Jennifer Beattie, Rachel Corsie, Caroline Weir (sub Emma Mitchell 73mins), Kim Little, Joanne Love (sub Megan Sneddon 84mins), Leanne Crichton, Jane Ross. Subs not used: Shannon Lynn, Eilish McSorley, Nicola Docherty, Rachel Harrison, Heather Richards.

(Report by www.scottishfa.co.uk)

 
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