FIFA World Cup 2019 Qualifiers
Albania 1-2 Scotland
Tuesday, 4 September 2018
The Loro Boriçi Stadium, Shkodër
Albania: Megi Doci (44)
Scotland: Kim Little (9), Jane Ross (68)
The Scotland Women’s National Team made history in Albania as they qualified for their first ever FIFA Women’s World Cup Finals.
Following on from their debut at the UEFA Women’s Euros in 2017, the team have now gone one step further to qualify for the biggest football competition of all – all in Head Coach Shelley Kerr’s first campaign in charge.
Scotland entered the match knowing that should they better Switzerland’s result away to Poland they would qualify automatically, while a play-off spot would be secured should they at least draw.
Goals from Kim Little and Jane Ross saw the side overcome the Albanians in a dominant performance – with the jubilant players erupting into rapturous celebrations on the full-time whistle.
— Scotland National Team (@ScotlandNT) September 4, 2018
Shelley Kerr made two changes from the side that defeated Switzerland 2-1 on a famous night in Paisley with Jane Ross and Lizzie Arnot replacing Claire Emslie and Christie Murray.
On a warm Albanian night, on a dry pitch, Scotland started strongly and took the lead with nine minutes gone. A Lisa Evans cross found Lizzie Arnot who nodded the ball across to Kim Little and she smashed home a volley from the penalty spot.
Scotland looked in the mood and had numerous chances to double their lead in the first half.
Thursday night’s hero Erin Cuthbert was on fire again and was close to scoring when she smashed the ball from the edge of the box but her shot was saved along with Jane Ross’ rebound attempt.
The Chelsea forward also had two other first half chances when she blasted the ball over the bar following a good move and also went close to notching from a magnificent solo run.
The Albanian goalkeeper, Viona Rexhepi was in inspired form and she was equal to an Emma Mitchell blast from outside the box.
Scotland were to rue those missed opportunities at the break as Megi Doci made them pay before the half-time whistle by scoring against the run of play from inside the box beyond Lee Alexander.
Unusually, Emma Mitchell had a number of chances at the start of the second half, seeing a header go just wide shortly before smashing the upright from close range.
Scotland remained patient despite seeing chances go amiss and their reward arrived after 68 minutes when a Caroline Weir free-kick was met by Jen Beattie and allowed Jane Ross to nod home.
Shelley Kerr’s side continued to press to increase their advantage with Emslie and Beattie all going close.
With time running down, Scotland demonstrated excellent game management, controlling possession and ensuring that the Albanians did not threaten Lee Alexander’s net.
With the news that Switzerland had failed to beat Poland, the players knew that a place in France was theirs, with the celebrations set to continue long into the night.
Albania: Rexhepi, Rrahmani (Captain), Hamidi (Maliqi, 73), Elezaj, Morina, Krasniqi, Doci, Gjini, Maksuti, Franja.
Unused substitutes: Raxhimi, Haziri, Curraj, Levandi, Lulaj, Mustafa.
Scotland: Alexander, Mitchell, Corsie (Captain), Beattie, Little, Weir, Evans, Ross, Howard (Arthur, 45), Cuthbert, Arnot (Emslie, 66).
Unused substitutes: Lynn, Love, Murray, Clelland, Fiona Brown
The result means that Scotland have now qualified for two successive major tournaments, after UEFA Women's EURO 2017 last summer.
YAAAAASSSSS!!!! INCREDIBLE!!!!! @ScotlandNT will be in France for the @FIFAWWC!!!!! Huge congratulations @Kerr5Shelley, all the backroom staff and each and every player who has taken this national team to the next level. Absolute heroes!!! 🏴😝— Eilidh Barbour (@EilidhBarbour) September 4, 2018