Algarve Cup
Iceland 1-4 Scotland
Monday, 4 March, kick-off 2pm
Estadio Municipal da Bela Vista, Portugal

Iceland: Gunnarsdottir (57)

Scotland: Arnot (13, 66), Cuthbert (32), Little (55)

A dominant performance saw Scotland prove too strong for Iceland at the 2019 Algarve Cup, as two goals from Lizzie Arnot helped her side to a 4-1 win over their group rivals.

Erin Cuthbert and Kim Little were also on target for the SWNT, with Shelley Kerr’s team overpowering their opponents in a confident display to earn their first victory of 2019 in style.

The first chance of the game fell the way of Scotland with just three minutes on the clock, but Jen Beattie’s header was comfortably gathered by Sonny Lara Thrainsdottir.

In a similar fashion to Friday’s meeting with Canada, Scotland were dominating the early exchanges, as Caroline Weir and Claire Emslie provided the early threat. Yet on this occasion, Scotland found themselves able to convert early possession into an early lead. A darting Emslie run earned a corner kick, from which Little’s inswinger caused panic in the Icelandic defence. Arnot kept her calm when the ball broke her way, the Manchester United winger firing a low shot into the bottom corner for the game’s opening goal.

Kerr’s side was finding all sorts of joy down the left wing, with Emslie and Nicola Docherty dovetailing to excellent effect. With Little and Weir dictating play from the centre of the park, Iceland’s defence endured a challenging opening quarter as they fought for a foothold.

It was a foothold that Scotland was determined to deny their opponents. As the half-hour mark approached, Cuthbert was played through on goal with the Scotland supporters preparing to celebrate. Uncharacteristically, however, the youngster dragged her shot wide and her side’s lead remained a single goal.

Undeterred, the Chelsea striker made amends almost immediately. Once more, it was Emslie that created the chance as she drove her way into the penalty area. Her cutback found the awaiting Cuthbert, who made no mistake with her finish to double Scotland’s advantage.

Erin Cuthbert

A dominant opening stanza from Scotland almost ended in perfect fashion on the stroke of half-time, as superb interplay from Emslie and Cuthbert saw the latter released into the penalty area. Her shot was blocked by on its path to goal, though, with the referee’s whistle blowing soon after to signal the break.

There was to be no let-up from Kerr’s side at the start of the second half, as Cuthbert went close once more after good build-up play from Little and Arnot.

Continuing in the same dominant vein as the opening period, the third goal for Scotland was always on the cards. It arrived on 55 minutes; Kirsty Smith’s run and cut-back found Little, whose layoff allowed Cuthbert to get the shot away. Whilst the original effort was blocked, Little reacted quickest to sweep the ball into the top corner on the half-volley from 18 yards for a well-taken tally.

However, Iceland served a reminder as to their quality just moments later. A cross into the Scotland penalty area wasn’t dealt with, allowing Sara Bjork Gunnarsdottir to arrow an effort into the bottom corner of Shannon Lynn’s goal and give her side a glimmer of hope.

Yet after a nervy couple of minutes, Scotland soon restored their three-goal advantage. A tremendous aerial ball from Weir found Arnot in acres of space and one-on-one with Thrainsdottir. Whilst her initial effort was saved, Arnot followed up with an unconventional finish to grab her second of the game.

Kerr’s side refused to take their foot off the pedal despite their lead, as a brace of substitutes almost combined to add Scotland’s fifth goal. Fiona Brown beat her defender before sliding a ball across for Zoe Ness, the Durham striker just unable to redirect the ball goalwards whilst at full stretch.

With Iceland tiring, more opportunities were coming Scotland’s way as the game entered its final ten minutes. Once again, Little acted as the conductor as she controlled play before flicking the ball into the path of Ness, Thrainsdottir getting down well to make the save.

Still the opportunities continued to come for Scotland – some beautiful interplay almost saw Little add to her tally, whilst Abi Harrison was only denied a first international goal by an offside decision by the assistant referee.

The result, however, was in no doubt. A comprehensive victory for Kerr’s side was confirmed by the final whistle, as they set their sights on Wednesday’s placing fixture and the chance to sign off from the 2019 Algarve Cup on the highest of notes.

Iceland: Thrainsdottir; Gisladottir, Jonsdottir (Vidarsdottir 73), Viggosdottir, G Arnadottir (A Arnadottir 59); Jonsdottir, Hauksdottir (Gardarsdottir 45); Albertsdottir (Magnusdottir 45), Gunnarsdottir, Honnudottir (Jensen 58); Gudmundsdottir (Brynjarsdottir 81).

Subs not used: S Sigurdardottir, Hrafnkelsdottir, Atladottir, I Sigurdardottir, Thorvaldsdottir, Sigfusdottir.

Scotland: Lynn; Smith, Corsie (capt), Beattie, Docherty (Lauder 87); Crichton (Love 71), Weir; Emslie (Fi Brown 61), Little, Arnot (Harrison 87); Cuthbert (Ness 61).

Subs not used: Alexander, Fife, Ross, Arthur, J Murray, C Murray, Fr Brown.