Scotland came from behind to beat Wales and guarantee at least a UEFA Women's EURO 2013 qualifying play-off place in October at their hosts expense – but winning coach Anna Signeul regretted not prevailing by more.
Wales, who have never previously come close to qualifying, needed victory to have any chance of a play-off place, and when Helen Lander pounced to give them a 36th-minute lead it looked on. But Joanne Love headed Scotland level just before the break in Llanellli and by home coach Jarmo Matikainen's own admission the visitors dominated the second half, Kim Little winning it 22 minutes from time. Signeul's side now welcome Group 4 winners France to Edinburgh on Wednesday knowing a four-goal victory would earn automatic qualification as best runners-up, but their initial task is done. UEFA.com heard reaction from both camps.
Anna Signeul, Scotland coach
I think we deserved to win, we were the better team and it could have been more but for a fantastic goalkeeper. She saved three or four goals for them I think. I think we played very well in parts of the game but not the whole game. Any problems we had were problems we forced on ourselves rather than them creating them. But we knew how they were going to play and I think we dealt with that very well. We are very pleased with the team performance, we wanted to score a couple more goals but their goalkeeper denied us. We went into the game thinking we could score a couple more so we could compete to be best runners-up but now we need four goals against France.
Jane Ross, Scotland winger
It was a tough game to come and play in, we knew it was going to be a difficult game coming down to Wales away from home. But we battled hard and good football at times and did well to come back from behind. That was a very important time at the match to get the goal and come in level to regroup for the second half. We're playing some really good football at the moment, we've got some really good young players coming through. We are playing really well.
Kim Little, Scotland winning goalscorer
It's great, it's what we came here to do, secure the points and get the play-off place. I wouldn’t say we were worried [when Scotland fell behind] but we scored just before half-time, which is a great time to score obviously, and then we always believed we could get the win. I like to shoot, I like to score, and I'd glad I got on the scoresheet for the team. I would say [France] are the best team in Europe. We lost away to them and put on a really good performance, it would be good to do the same and get something from it.
Jarmo Matikainen, Wales coach
It was a good game. I am really proud of the effort our players put up today. We were pretty close, particularly when we got that good goal and we were 1-0 up, it thought it we could keep it to half-time then we were going to have a good game. Unfortunately it was not to be, we conceded a very disappointing goal and in the second half they created so many chances they deserved to be the 2-1 winners. Actually, we started the second half pretty well and were putting them under pressure but we also knew that a very big part of their game is set plays. They are very physical and Jennifer Beattie, who is a magnificent player, she is a real threat in the air and we were really struggling in those set plays, eventually Kim Little score the second goal. There weren’t any surprises, in the first or second half, we just didn't have enough to cope with the things that were thrown at us.
I already mentioned how proud I am with the work out players have done, and our staff have done and our clubs have done. We know our players have to juggle their work and personal lives, we don't have professional players and it is unbelievable commitment they have been ready to work so hard to improve themselves. It has given us a good platform for the future.
It is a sign of how far we have come when I look at how disappointed the girls were, it is not so long since everyone would have been happy to lose only 2-1 to Scotland.
Nicola Davies, Wales goalkeeper
I was happy with my performance but disappointed not to come away with something other than zero points. But we all played well together and are definitely taking steps in the right direction so we've got to stay positive and take that into our next campaign. We thought it was on from the start. We came in with the right approach, having played them away and taken a draw for them we thought we had the ability to come away with something more than that at home. Going a goal up got everyone going again. But [conceding] was frustrating to say the least, we needed to stay switched on in the last five minutes of the first half so we could go in 1-0 up and that would turn the game around. Unfortunately they turned the game around. But we've achieved so much compared to previous campaigns, the mentality has changed.
Jessica Fishlock, Wales captain
We had a slow start, for the first ten or 15 minutes Scotland were on top. But then I think we started coming into the game a bit more and started controlling the game a bit more. So really disappointing from that point of view that we lost. [When Wales scored] I knew there was a long way to go. It was really disappointing the way we conceded before half-time, a really sloppy goal, we were better than that. That turned the game.
We've come a long way, it is disappointing for us as players but we have to step back and look at the big picture and I'm sure that maybe tomorrow we will do that and we’ll be all right but right now the feeling is disappointment.