Scotland Women have ended their 28-year wait to reach a major tournament this summer, with a spot at UEFA Women’s Euro 2017. And wouldn’t you know it, their first test comes against England on Wednesday night.
The Lionesses have won all six of the pair’s previous competitive meetings, but the Scots have some real talents in their ranks who could cause England problems – beginning with a high-scoring centre-back.
Rachel Corsie (CB; Seattle Reign)
The 27-year-old has built a reputation as one of the best defenders in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), following a superb couple of years at Seattle Reign. But as well as possessing classy distribution and a smart reading of the game, the Aberdonian is also a real threat in front of goal.
Corsie boasts 16 goals from 83 outings for Scotland, including three goals in the qualifying campaign for this tournament, in victories over Belarus and Macedonia. Having also chalked up several goals for the Reign, England’s defenders will find her a handful on set-pieces – at each end of the pitch.
Caroline Weir (CM/AM; Liverpool)
Talented, creative and high-scoring, the Dunfermline-born midfielder is enjoying the form of her life right now, netting five times for club side Liverpool in the current WSL campaign – including a goal against champions Manchester City last time out.
A remarkably complete player at 22-years-old, she’s also one of the WSL’s best passers of a ball, and has set up crucial goals time and time again for both club and country. Having also found the net in two of Scotland’s qualifiers, we’re also not ruling out Weir’s name appearing on the scoreboard come Wednesday night.
Hayley Lauder (LW; Glasgow City)
A real ‘big-game performer’, Lauder boasts goals against the likes of Brazil and the Netherlands from her time in the Scotland ranks. Lightning quick on the left flank and possessing a keen eye for a cross, England’s defence will have to be on their toes against the 27-year-old.
She’s got previous in this fixture as well, setting up Jennifer Beattie’s winner as Scotland beat the Lionesses 2-0 at the 2011 Cyprus Cup. Fans of Anna Signeul’s side will be hoping for more of the same again in Utrecht this week.
Lana Clelland (AM/SS; UPC Tavagnacco)
The 24-year-old is tearing up Serie A in 2016-17, with 23 goals in 21 games for Tavagnacco. And while she hasn’t always been as prolific for Scotland, that record underlines the ruthless streak the Perth-born playmaker is developing in front of goal.
She heads into this tournament on the back of three hat-tricks in her last four games for the Italian outfit, and while England’s defence don’t tend to give up too many goals, giving Clelland even a sniff of a chance could well prove their downfall.
In the match betting, England are 1/4 favourites for victory, with Scotland 10/1 shots and the draw priced up at 4s.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing