Scotland 0-1 Finland: Shelley Kerr's side out of Euro 2022 after late goal
Scotland’s hopes of reaching Euro 2022 are over after a 94th minute goal from Amanda Rantanen condemned Shelley Kerr’s side to a 1-0 defeat to Finland at Easter Road.
A third loss in a row means Scotland can no longer finish in the top two spots in Group E.
In a game Scotland had dominated they passed up big chances in particular from Martha Thomas, Lisa Evans and Caroline Weir.
A draw would have left Scotland’s hopes hanging by a thread, but as they sent everyone forward to find that elusive goal they were caught out on the counter attack in the last moments of the game.
They face Cyprus away and Portugal at home in February to complete the group.
After 1-0 defeats away to Finland and Portugal, it was a night where Scotland had to produce a positive result. Anything less and Euro 2022 in England would go ahead without them. It wasn’t lost on the players, who flew out of the blocks and troubled the visitors early on. Evans had a shot deflected over while Jennifer Beattie forced a save with a header.
But Finland soon settled, and were a threat on the counter attack. Linda Sallstrom was inches away from connecting with a dangerous cross to the front post.
Scotland, though, continued to be the aggressors. Evans was finding space down the right, but when she sent a gilt-edged cross into the box no-one in blue was on the end of it.
After 16 goals in their first three games in the group, Scotland had now gone two and a half without any. They had 45 minutes where a goal was a must. Five minutes into the second half Thomas met a header right in front of goal but inexplicable headed wide.
Kim Little collected a throw-in, turned, beat two players and dragged the ball across to Evans but she couldn’t get a proper connection on it.
Cuthbert shot over with 17 minutes to go as time ticked on. Zoe Ness arrived on the scene five minutes later and with her first touch almost squeezed a low ball into the far corner.
Then it looked like everyone was having a shot at goal, but as the Finland defence deflected everything the ball fell to Weir who put her shot wide of the post.
It was heading for a draw which would have been hard enough for Scotland to take. In a frantic ending Evans collected the ball on the left but, wary it was Scotland’s last chance, elected not to cross and played it back to Beattie. Weir and Cuthbert exchanged passes, but the latter ran into her own player, Ness, and lost the ball inside the box.
Finland cleared and launched a defence-splitting long ball which Rantanen - on seconds earlier to waste time - sprinted onto clear of the defence, with her shot saved by goalkeeper Lee Alexander but bouncing back off her to seal Scotland’s fate.
Former Scotland boss Anna Signeul sat pensively in the dugout refusing to celebrate, knowing her old side were out.
Northern Ireland reach play-offs
Elsewhere in qualifying, Northern Ireland are in their first-ever play-offs after they recovered from an early setback to beat the Faroe Islands 5-1.
Wales swept aside Belarus 3-0 and have a +12 goal difference compared to Northern Ireland’s 0, but Kenny Shiels’ side finish second based on a better head-to-head record between the two.
In Group I, the Republic of Ireland missed out on a play-off spot after falling to a 3-1 defeat to Germany in Dublin.
Lina Magull fired the already qualified Germans into a 21st-minute lead from the penalty spot before Tabea Wassmuth doubled the lead eight minutes later.
Republic skipper Katie McCabe pulled one back from the spot just before half-time but Wassmuth sealed Germany's win five minutes from time.
The Irish finish third in Group I with Ukraine progressing to the play-offs.