2015 World Cup qualifier: Scotland Women 1-3 Sweden Women

By Cheri BurnsBBC Scotland
The Swedes celebrate after taking the lead at Fir Park
The Swedes celebrate after taking the lead at Fir Park

Scotland's hopes of reaching the 2015 World Cup were dealt a blow after a 3-1 qualifying defeat by Sweden.

Caroline Seger gave the visitors the lead at Fir Park with a delightful lob but Kim Little levelled with a penalty.

The Swedes sealed the win thanks to a double from Kosovare Asllani.

Anna Signeul's Scots remain top of Group 4 on goal difference ahead of their trip to Northern Ireland next Thursday, but group favourites Sweden have a game in hand.

A victory against Northern Ireland is now crucial if Scotland are to challenge them for the automatic qualifying spot.

As the teams took to the Fir Park pitch, this match could not have been more pivotal in the fight to make it to Canada next year.

With both nations aiming to preserve 100% records, Signeul's charges went into the tie three points ahead of the visitors.

Caroline Seger curls home the opening goal for Sweden
Caroline Seger curls home the opening goal for Sweden

The Scots raced out of the traps but for all of their possession they were unable to trouble Hedvig Lindahl in the away goal, and her team started to edge their way into it through the likes of Sara Thunebro and Sofia Jakobsson.

Pia Sundhage's outfit then broke the deadlock.

From a corner, weak marking meant Seger could collect a back-post delivery and curl a sublime effort beyond goalkeeper Gemma Fay.

But Scotland hit back soon after through Little.

The Seattle Reign star fired in a free-kick that Lotta Schelin blocked with her hand, and Little duly converted the resulting penalty, sending Lindahl the wrong way.

With the home support still celebrating, the Scots were almost behind again when Jennifer Beattie played a slack pass-back towards Fay, allowing Therese Sjögran to ghost in, but the goalkeeper made a great save at her feet to dispel the danger.

The hosts then suffered for more sloppy defending from a set-piece, as Sweden found their way ahead again.

Following a shot from Hanna Folkesson from the edge of the box, forward Asllani reacted quickest and deflected past a helpless Fay.

That knocked the wind out of Scotland, and they could have been further behind when a stinging Asllani shot from 25-yards had the Celtic stopper beaten, but it bounced off the woodwork.

Jane Ross had a goal ruled out for offside just before the break after being set-up by Lisa Evans.

The second half started in the same hectic fashion as the first, with Scotland pushing to find an opening.

And it was Ross who looked most likely to threaten, as she linked up well with Hayley Lauder and Little.

Scotland star Kim Little slots home from the penalty spot to square the game at 1-1
Scotland star Kim Little slots home from the penalty spot to square the game at 1-1

But they could not make it count, and the Swedes capitalised on further defensive uncertainty to sink a killer third.

After coming for a teasing cross, Fay could only palm the ball out to the busy Asllani, who slotted home with ease.

Sundhage's players looked good for their lead, but the home team were inches away from halving the deficit when Lauder floated in a precise free-kick, only for her effort to hit the bar.

Little and Evans had decent chances to convert late on but Sweden's class showed as they did enough to see out the remainder of the match and record a vital three points.

Scotland: Fay, Dieke, Love, Little, Lauder, Sneddon, Evans, Ross, Corsie, Beattie, Fantom-Brown. Subs: Lynn, Black, Mitchell, Ross, Murray, Docherty, Lappin.

Sweden: Lindahl, Berglund, Fischer, Thunebro, Schelin, Asllani, Jakobsson, Folkesson, Sjögran, Seger, Rubensson. Subs: Söberg, Sembrant, Ilestedt, Diaz Pettersson, Svensson, Lund, Appelqvist.

Top Stories