West Ham United striker Jane Ross has told of her pride at scoring the goal which took Scotland to their first-ever FIFA Women’s World Cup finals.
Ross’s header secured the 2-1 victory in Albania that booked the Scots’ place at the 2019 tournament, which will be held in France.
And the Hammers forward, who appeared at UEFA Euro 2017 and has scored 56 goals in 119 games for her country since making her debut against England in March 2009, is looking forward to playing on the biggest stage in women’s football next summer.
“I’m delighted and really happy that we’ve managed to qualify for our first-ever World Cup,” said Ross, who joined West Ham from Manchester City in July. “It’s obviously a dream come true to be heading to France for the tournament next year.
“Looking back on it now, it’s one of the most important goals of my career and I was obviously happy to get us ahead in the game at the time and ultimately to have scored the goal which got us an important three points.”
I was obviously happy to get us ahead in the game at the time and ultimately to have scored the goal which got us an important three points
Scotland went into their final two Group B qualifiers trailing leaders Switzerland, but a win over the Swiss on 30 August meant a victory in Albania, combined with a draw or defeat for the Swiss in Poland, would see Ross and company qualify automatically.
Even then, Scotland were facing elimination when Albania equalised Kim Little’s ninth-minute goal on the stroke of half-time, setting the stage for Ross to make her herself a heroine.
The 28-year-old, who was one of four reserves for Team GB’s squad for the 2012 Olympic Games in London, was determined not to let another opportunity to appear at a major tournament slip by and did just that with 22 minutes remaining.
“We were quite disappointed to be going in level at half-time as we’d definitely created a number of chances in the first half that, if we’d been more clinical and credit to their goalkeeper for making a number of saves, we would have gone in two or three goals ahead in the match,” Ross told whufc.com.
“At half-time, we were feeling pretty calm actually, as we felt we had the quality in our dressing room to go out and create a number of chances in the second 45 minutes, then it was just going to be a matter of whether we could take one of them to get ahead in the game again – and we did!”
Ross, who scored her first two West Ham goals in a FA WSL Continental Cup win over Lewes last month, will return to domestic action in the same competition on Sunday 16 September, when the Hammers host Millwall Lionesses at Rush Green Stadium. Tickets for that London derby can be purchased now here.