Scotty two hotty
Thursday, 21 June, 2012
Jill Scott brace guides England Women to Euro qualifying win over Slovenia
By Glenn Lavery in Slovenia
England are just one win away from a place at the UEFA Women’s Euro 2013 Finals after beating Slovenia 4-0 in late June.
A first-half brace from Jill Scott set Hope Powell’s side on their way and Karen Carney made it 3-0 just after the restart, rounding Sonja Cevnik to tap into an unguarded net. Rachel Williams replaced Fara Williams in the 70th minute and the Birmingham hot shot completed the scoring with just five minutes remaining, heading home Eniola Aluko’s left-wing corner.
It was a totally dominant performance by England, no doubt buoyed by their 1-0 win over closest Group 6 qualification rivals Holland four days ago. They could have won by an even greater margin, but the three points were the most important thing on a night when Rachel Yankey had further cause for celebration as she equalled Gillian Coultard’s record of 119 caps for the England Women’s team.
The only sour point of the evening was a first-half booking for White, for a foul on the goalkeeper, meaning the Arsenal striker will be suspended for the Croatia game in September.
England controlled proceedings against Slovenia from first to last and they should have been out of sight before Scott’s first of the evening.
With less than 20 minutes on the clock, the visitors were already on top and they carved out a number of good opportunities. Yankey clipped the bar with an in-swinging corner, White glanced a header wide of the far post, Fara Williams poked the ball wide of the target when well placed inside the box and Scott rifled a 20-yard shot just over the bar.
It was only matter of time before we made the breakthrough and it came courtesy of the Everton midfielder, who finished off a fairly scrappy passage of play. Not for the first time Slovenia were unable to clear their lines and the visitors capitalised. The ball bobbled about in Slovenia’s inside left channel before Scott was released in the area and she kept her cool to slip the ball under Cevnik.
The goal had been coming since kick-off, but they knew they would need to make the game more comfortable for themselves by grabbing a second. They were reminded of how narrow their lead was when Anita Asante headed Andreja Nikl’s header, from a corner, off the line five minutes before half-time.
But with the whistle looming, Scott doubled England’s advantage with an even cooler finish than her first. She was found in acres of space by Aluko’s clip down the left, brought the ball inside, waited for the ‘keeper to narrow the angle and then slammed the ball home from 18 yards.
Powell made a substitution at the break, bringing Carney on for White and the Birmingham forward was straight into the action. After being found by Fara Williams’ ball across the box, Carney should have beaten the ‘keeper from just a few yards out, but she made amends just two minutes later, collecting Yankey’s through ball, rounding Cevnik and passing the ball into the empty net to all but seal the three points.
It might have got even better for England, but Steph Houghton saw her downward header, from Aluko’s corner, cleared off the line by Kaja Jerina.
England continued to dominate, but the game became somewhat scrappy midway through the second half, with the visitors being caught offside on a few occasions. Aluko tried to extend the lead with an angled drive in the 79th minute but Cevnik was equal to it.
However, when the fourth goal did arrive Aluko was the provider, sending over the corner which Rachel Williams gleefully nodded home.
One more win in September and England can book their flights to Sweden next summer.