Erin Cuthbert came off the bench to score the equaliser as Scotland drew 2-2 with Denmark in their Invitational Friendly in Cyprus. The recent Chelsea signing came on at half-time and changed the dynamic of the game, swinging the momentum towards Scotland – and the longer the game, the more likely it looked like Scotland would win.
Compared to Scotland’s last match against the Netherlands which ended in a 7-0 thrashing, there are far more positives for Scotland’s Head Coach Anna Signeul to take from this game. There were signs of defensive rustiness during the game, but a lot of that will be down to the fact that the Scotland players are about one or two months away from the domestic season kicking off.
And as Scotland prepare for the Euros, the questions that Signeul will have gained from the friendly are the exact ones she wants.
Scotland Errors Lead To Danish Opener
Scotland was given a warning by Denmark in the fourth minute when they failed to clear a corner, and Johanna Rasmussen’s delivery picked out Pernille Harder, but the Wolfsburg forward headed just wide.
And then, a minute later, it was 1-0 to the Danes. Scotland’s keeper Gemma Fay came out of the box to clear the ball but ended up picking out Sanne Troelsgaard on the wing. Scotland managed to stop an immediate attempt on goal, but the Danes reworked the ball into the box. And although Ifeoma Dieke managed to make the tackle on Rasmussen, Harder was there to pick out the bottom corner.
Scotland had a potential chance to equalise when Veje handled the ball on the edge of the Denmark box, but they failed to work the opportunity into a realistic chance, with the Bristol City right-back Frankie Brown having a rather optimistic long-range effort easily saved by Lykke Petersen.
Denmark was on top, with Rasmussen trying her luck from 30 yards with a fierce effort, but Fay made the save.
Jane Ross Equalises
It should have been 2-0 to Denmark when Theresa Nielsen’s cross picked out Rasmussen, six yards out from goal, but somehow the Linköpings forward missed the target.
Scotland soon punished her miss by equalising. Just inside the Scotland half, Kim Little played a through-ball to Jane Ross, who took one touch to control the ball and her second touch found the back of the next with a venomous strike from about 25 yards.
Fay Injured Before Denmark Retake The Lead
There was cause for concern after Scotland’s keeper and captain Fay had to go off injured. The incident came from a Denmark free-kick when she claimed Rasmussen’s delivery but was fouled by Arnth’s genuine, but late, attempt to head the ball. After a couple of minutes of treatment, she was replaced by Shannon Lynn. Fay was taken to hospital for an X-Ray on her left ankle
Unfortunately, nearly her first thing to do was to pick the ball up out of the net. A simple through-ball from Troelsgaard cut through the Scottish defence, like a knife through butter, leaving Rasmussen with a simple finish to find the bottom corner.
Half-Time Change of System
At half-time, Scotland made four changes, moving from a 4-4-2 formation to something nearer to a 4-4-1-1, with Erin Cuthbert playing behind Jane Ross.
And Scotland nearly found an equaliser in the 55th minute, when from a free-kick on the right, Rachel Corsie
A sign of the improved attacking play from Scotland was when Erin Cuthbert picked out Fiona Brown, behind the Danish back three, with a delightful ball – however, Fiona Brown could not pick out Jane Ross with her cutback.
Corsie once again had a headed chance. A Scottish corner found Jennifer Beattie whose two shots were blocked, before the ball was reworked to the wing and from the resulting cross, Corsie could only head over.
Cuthbert Steals The Show
Scotland once again came close to an equaliser when Cuthbert led the counter-attack, and eventually finding Fiona Brown who drove the ball across the six-yard box where Jane Ross just couldn’t quite get a touch on the ball.
And when Scotland equalised, it was no surprise when it was Cuthbert who equalised. A wonderful one-two with Jane Ross opened up the Danish defence in the penalty area and Cuthbert blasted the ball past the keeper, clipping the top-left corner to score her first international goal.
Kim Little could have scored a winner when this time, she played a one-two with the Manchester City striker, but the Arsenal returnee shot agonisingly wide.
Denmark had a couple of late chances with Sara Thrige only being denied by a last-ditch tackle by Frankie Brown before Lisa Munk headed just wide after Scotland failed to stop the cross.
And then Cuthbert came close to her second goal when Claire Emslie found Cuthbert on the edge of the box, but her shot smashed off the crossbar and Jane Ross couldn’t quite force the ball over the line.
In the second half stoppage time, Corsie headed just wide from a corner.
Scotland: Fay (Lynn 28); Frankie Brown, Dieke (Corsie HT), Beattie, Mitchell (Arnot HT); Leanne Ross (Cuthbert HT), Weir (Crichton HT), Little, Lauder; Fiona Brown (Emslie 79), Jane Ross.
Goals: Jane Ross 23, Cuthbert 73
Denmark: Lykke; Boye (Leth Jans HT), Arnth, Røddik; Christiansen (Line Jensen 75), Troelsgaard (Thrige 75); Nielsen, Harder, Veje (Thøgersen HT); Stine Larsen (Munk 64), Rasmussen (Kur Larsen 64).
Goals: Harder 5, Rasmussen 30.