The Scottish Women’s National team have been given a tough draw in their attempt to qualify for the European Championships for the first time in their history which are to be held in Finland in August 2009.
Anna Signeul’s side – who sit 26th in FIFA’s national rankings – will have to negotiate a two legged tie against a formidable Russia side – ranked 15th in the world – who were unfortunate not to qualify automatically after finishing as the best second place side behind group winners Norway.
The women’s team qualified from their group in 3rd place after an emphatic 6-0 defeat of a Slovenia side vying for the same spot. The result meant they edged out Switzerland and Austria as the last third place team to enter the play-off rounds.
Swedish coach Signeul believes that to overcome the Russian side the players will have to go in to the game will belief and confidence in their abilities. She said: “This was possibly the worst draw we could of got but we can come through the tie and qualify as their is no doubt we have the quality. We just need to make sure we go out and believe that we can do it.
“The game is 180 minutes so it is not vital we win the first leg. But we need to make sure we are not out the tie before the second game.”
With 13 of the squad plying their trade with either Arsenal, Hibernian or Celtic they will have to use all of thier experience to give Scotland a fighting chance of competing in Finalnd next summer. With much of the goalscoring burden falling on the shoulders of free-scoring striker Julie Fleeting, who netted four goals in qualifying and is Scotland’s all-time record goal scorer with 107 goals in 105 games over a 12 year period.
The team will hope to carry their recent good form – three games without defeat – into the first leg which is to played at Tynecastle stadium on Sunday the 26th of October with the return game four days later in Moscow.
The game is to be the very first involving the Scottish women’s national team to be shown on television. The new digital Gaelic channel BBC Alba which shows televises one SPL match on a Saturday night have picked the game up and will show it live on the sunday with a 3pm kick-off.
Tickets are available at the Hearts ticket office in Gorgie and in the Hearts shop in St James’ Shopping centre or over the phone on 0871 663 1874 (Monday to Friday, 9am until 5pm). Advance sales will be £4 and £2 (U16s and O65s), and prices on the day will be £5 and £3 (U16s and O65s).