Ireland qualify for Women's World Cup for first time ever as Scotland and Wales miss out
Ireland have qualified for the Women’s World Cup for the first time in their history after a win over fellow contenders Scotland – but it was heartbreak for Wales on a dramatic night of football.
Substitute Amber Barrett cliched a 1-0 victory at Hampden Park in Glasgow with a 72nd-minute goal, while results elsewhere confirmed that win was enough to send the Irish to the finals next year.
Switzerland, meanwhile, ended Wales’ hopes of joining Ireland at the tournament in Australia and New Zealand with a last-minute winner.
It was “incredibly tough to take” for Wales Head coach Gemma Grainger, while Republic of Ireland captain Katie McCabe hailed her side’s fighting spirit.
Irish joy as the Scots miss out
The Scots had also started the night hoping to repeat their qualification for the 2019 finals but faced an uphill struggle after Caroline Weir’s early penalty was saved by Courtney Brosnan.
McCabe told BBC Alba: “I’m so proud of the girls’ performance. It wasn’t pretty tonight at all, but it was an unbelievable save from Courtney for the penalty.
“We put our bodies on the line, we worked for each other, we ran for each other, and that’s what this team is all about.
“We’ve got an identity we’ve been working on throughout this campaign. It’s not pretty and it’s not everyone’s favourite style of football, but it works for us and we enjoy it.”
Scotland boss Pedro Martinez Losa bemoaned the passing of an “incredible opportunity” and blamed a series of minor mistakes for his side’s failure to return to the finals.
“I’m very disappointed – for the girls, and for the whole nation. It was an incredible opportunity,” Losa told BBC Alba.
“I think the game was hard on us, but those things happen in life and in football. I apologise to the fans. We wanted to qualify for the World Cup so badly.
“We missed little details. We didn’t score the penalty, and after that, I’m not sure how many opportunities the opposition had to score. The game plan was executed well. It was one action at one side of the box and another at the other side of the box that decided the game.”
Heartbreak for Wales
Wales looked to be closing in on next summer’s finals when Rhiannon Roberts put them ahead in their European play-off final.
But Ramona Bachmann levelled on the stroke of half-time and Switzerland won it in dramatic fashion as substitute Fabienne Humm pounced with virtually the last kick of extra-time.
Grainger told BBC Wales: “It’s incredibly tough to take. We know the margins at this level are fine and that’s been shown tonight.
“But I’m incredibly proud of this group. I’m proud that we compete at this level and the plan for us is to continue doing that.
“We take so much pride from it (campaign), but I know we are disappointed right now because we know we can win these games and be successful.”