SCOTLAND women’s football manager, Anna Signeul, has hailed her history-making side after they qualified for their first ever major tournament.
A win by Portgual over Finland in qualifying Group 3 ensured the Scots will proudly take their place at Euro 2017, regardless of the outcome of their final match against Iceland next Tuesday.
Signeul said: “This is a dream come true for them. This is what they’ve been working towards. It’s fantastic.
“This group of players, and many others that we have worked with over the years, have worked so hard to achieve this. We have experienced some fantastic highs in previous campaigns, and the pain of missing out at the final hurdle, and it’s all been worth it to take this final step.
“For now, we are 100 per cent focused on preparations for our match in Iceland next week. We will have some time to appreciate the achievement after that, but not long, as we have a finals to prepare for.”
Siguel has previously taken the team as far as play-offs for Euro 2009 and 2013, and the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015.
But six wins out of seven proved to be enough to secured the coveted place, with Signeul targeting a place in the quarter-finals.
The Swede added: “For some of the players who have been in the squad for as long as I have, it’s been what we’ve wanted to achieve the whole time.
“Some of them have been in the squad for 19 years and the reason they are so dedicated is that they are so desperate to go to a major finals.”
“I’m really proud of the players because of how much they put into football.
“It’s their first priority and they give more than 15 hours to football as well as still going to uni or doing their job.”
Scottish FA chief executive, Stewart Regan, said: “On behalf of everyone at the Scottish FA, I’m delighted to congratulate Anna, the players, and the staff, on this wonderful achievement.
“So much hard work and dedication has gone in to achieving this goal. After coming so close in the past, I’m sure everyone connected with the squad will savour this moment, which I have no doubt will prove to be pivotal in the development of women’s football in Scotland.”
Captain Gemma Fay said: “It’s absolutely fantastic. I’m a little bit lost for words. You talk about it all the time ‘when we qualify’ and to be able to say ‘we have qualified’ is something we’ve been waiting a long time for. We’ve been in this situation three times and we’ve been the team saying next time. We were absolutely determined that there wasn’t going to be a next time. There was going to be no play-offs for us we were going to do it automatically and we’ve done it with a game to spare.”