Scotland must step up in Euro 2017, says goalkeeper Gemma Fay

By Andrew SouthwickBBC Scotland
Goalkeeper Gemma Fay has more than 160 caps for Scotland
Goalkeeper Gemma Fay has more than 160 caps for Scotland

Goalkeeper Gemma Fay has warned Scotland not to underestimate Iceland following the Uefa Women's European Championship 2017 qualifying draw.

Anna Signeul's side avoided many of the more fancied nations amongst the top seeds, with Iceland just one place above Scotland in the Fifa rankings.

Macedonia, Slovenia and Belarus are Scotland's other opponents in Group One.

"Iceland are a top-ranked team for a reason," Fay told BBC Scotland.

"They've shown their pedigree in qualifying for major tournaments. Now it is our turn to step up and show that we can beat teams like this in competitive matches."

Scotland missed out on a place at this summer's World Cup after losing in a play-off to the Netherlands, who will host the 2017 European Championships.

The key dates
Qualifying group stage:14 September, 2015 to 20 September, 2016
Play-off draw:23 September, 2016, Nyon
Play-offs:17 to 25 October, 2016
Finals draw:Late 2016, Netherlands
Finals:July/August 2017, Netherlands

This time the eight group winners and best six runners-up will qualify automatically, with the final two runners-up facing each other in a play-off, as Scotland bid to qualify for a major tournament for the first time.

The Scots defeated Iceland 3-2 in Reykjavik as recently as 2013, and the teams drew 1-1 a year before.

"We've got confidence because we know we can go in there and we can get a result, but I would hark back to what happened in the play-off against Holland," said the 33-year-old goalkeeper.

"We've beat Holland the last couple of times we've played them yet when it comes to a competitive match that's when we have to step up and deliver.

"It's a really good draw for us. We've got a tough opponent there in Iceland - they've already been to a finals, they got to the quarter finals of the last European Championship. They're a real footballing nation.

"It's a tough top seed but we could have had a Germany or had a France. I think we're happy to avoid them.

"Macedonia and Slovenia - I don't think I've ever played them, and Belarus I haven't played in a long time. But I know that they've had some good results in the World Cup qualification.

"I think Anna described it as a slightly deceiving group and I would agree with her on that one because one thing we've learned from the last couple of qualifying campaigns is that there's never an easy game in international football."

Fay is also confident she will be back playing in time for the start of the qualifying campaign after suffering an injury in Scotland's recent 1-1 friendly draw with Australia.

She said: "We hoped it was just a bit of a big bash but it's a wee bit more serious than that. I'll definitely be back in time for September and raring to go."