Switzerland first up in crucial qualifying double-header

FIFA World Cup 2019 Qualifiers

Switzerland v Scotland

Thursday, 5 April 2018, kick-off 6pm (UK time)

Lipo Park, Schaffhausen

On Thursday, Scotland and Switzerland do battle in the highly anticipated World Cup Qualifier between the two top ranked sides in group 2.

With only one nation automatically qualifying for the FIFA World Cup in France next year, Scotland will be aiming for maximum points in the next two fixtures against Switzerland and then Poland on Tuesday night at the Paisley 2021 Stadium.

Scotland have started the World Cup qualifying group in promising fashion collecting two wins from their opening two fixtures against Belarus and Albania.

Two training camps in Spain followed in January, where Shelley Kerr’s side lost to Norway and drew against Russia in La Manga.

In March they were back in Spain, playing two games against New Zealand in Pinatar.

They won both matches 2-0 with Jane Ross scoring twice as well as Lisa Evans and Fiona Brown also finding the back of the net.

Team news

Kim Little has returned from injury and will be in contention to start the match having returned to the Scotland squad following more than a year out.

Jane Ross comes into the camp on hot form, having scored a goal in each of Manchester City’s quarter-final legs.

At Arsenal, Emma Mitchell has just signed a new long-term deal with Arsenal, having won the Continental Cup against Manchester City alongside Lisa Evans and Kim Little.

What are Shelley Kerr’s thoughts?

Ahead of Scotland’s first match in the double header of fixtures, she said: “We are all so excited for this challenge, against Switzerland.

“Having four friendly games, spread out at the start of the year has worked well for us and we’re really well prepared for the game.

“We’re where we want to be in terms of preparation.

“We want to have two good performances in the next two games. It’s our duty as an international team to inspire the nation.

“If we want to put ourselves in the best position to qualify for our first World Cup we need to make sure we can compete and get something out of both games.”

When assessing the challenges Switzerland will bring, Kerr said: “They are a really good team and have players who are playing across some of the best clubs in Europe.

“They have played at the previous World Cup and really kicked on as a nation, particularly since Martina Voss-Tecklenburg has come in. She’s a really talented coach and someone I have a lot of respect for.

“We’ve got a lot of experience in our squad and we’re in a good place.”

What are the opposition thinking?

Before the game, Switzerland’s head coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg said: "It will be a really tough game against a side with a strong, physical presence.

“Scotland will play a fast, dynamic style with fast, active, dangerous strikers. We want to show our own qualities and hopefully break them down. We’ll need to run a lot and show endurance throughout. I think it’ll be a tight game.

What can be expected from Switzerland?

Ranked 18th in the world, four places ahead of Scotland, they have played two more games than Shelley Kerr’s side already in the group and lie top of the table.

They have warmed up for this match by competing in the Cyprus Cup, and defeated Finland 4-0, drawing with Wales and losing against Korea DPR and Italy.

In their ranks they have Erin Cuthbert’s Chelsea teammate Ramona Bachmann. The experienced striker has been capped more 80 times for her country.

Former German midfielder Martina Voss-Tecklenburg is their head coach and was capped 125 times for her country, winning seven national titles.

She has been in charge of the Swiss team since 2012.

Where will the match be played?

Home of FC Schaffhausen, Lipo Park holds 8,200 spectators with around 3,000 expected inside the arena.

Where can the match be watched?

The game will be shown live on BBC ALBA and broadcast by BBC Radio Scotland.