Scotland v Iceland
Monday, 21 January 2019, kick-off 3pm
La Manga, Spain
Scotland will hope to bounce back from defeat to Norway in their opening match of 2019, as the squad turns its attention to the challenge presented by Iceland on Monday afternoon.
Despite the result, head coach Shelley Kerr was pleased with aspects of her team’s performance against the world’s 13th ranked side, with a much-changed Scotland team causing problems for their fellow FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifiers.
Iceland will provide the next test for Kerr and her players, as they look to secure a first win of the calendar year.
Despite missing out on qualification for this summer’s FIFA Women’s World Cup, Iceland’s world ranking of 22 – just two places below Scotland – should provide an indication as to the quality of opposition awaiting the SWNT.
Indeed, the two sides are intricately linked in each other’s history; Scotland claimed a vital 2-1 victory in Reykjavik en route to UEFA Euro 2017, whilst Iceland’s first-ever international came against Scotland in Kilmarnock back in 1981.
Scotland head coach Shelley Kerr has the luxury of being able to choose from a full squad ahead of Monday’s match, with the squad reporting no new injuries following the meeting with Norway.
As a result, players who began Thursday night’s game on the bench could be in contention to start the second match of Scotland’s January training camp, including Bristol City striker Lucy Graham and Glasgow City defender Nicola Docherty.
Kerr is also able to call upon the likes of Erin Cuthbert, Jane Ross and Jo Love, as she considers her options ahead of kick-off.
Iceland will be looking to captain Sara Bjork Gunnarsdottir to provide the creative spark, with the Wolfsburg midfielder in line to win her 121st cap for her country.
What to expect from Iceland
Having qualified for each of the last three UEFA European Championships, Iceland is very much a team on the rise.
Whilst FIFA Women’s World Cup qualification ultimately eluded them at the last, a famous 3-2 win away to two-time world champions Germany illustrated the talent within their squad.
A largely home-grown squad is complemented by players – like captain Gunnarsdottir - making an impact overseas, with Adelaide United pair Gunnhildur Yrsa Jonsdottir and Fanndis Fridriksdottir helping to keep the Australian outfit in the hunt in the W-League.
Scotland striker Jane Ross: “We got off to a slow start against in the first half against Norway. They’re obviously a very good team, but we had some really good spells in the second half where I thought we dominated the game.
“There’s a lot of depth in the squad now – there’s a lot of competition for places. Players are getting the chance to show Shelley and Andy what they can do and why they should be in the squad.
“The fact that no-one is guaranteed a spot on the plane to France is motivation for everyone.
“It’s a hugely exciting time to be involved with the squad. Everyone’s buzzing and looking forward to the summer, so they know just how important these camps are in our preparation to be the best we can possibly be.
“I’m really enjoying life at West Ham at the moment. We took a bit of time to gel as a group, but in recent weeks we’ve been playing really well and picked up some good results.
“We faced Iceland in our qualifying campaign ahead of Euro 2017. They’re obviously another quality opponent, but I’ve no doubt we’ll be ready for them.”
How to follow the match
Live updates will be provided throughout the match on the @ScotlandNT Twitter account