Goalkeeper Gemma Fay pulled off two fantastic saves before Caroline Weir drilled Scotland in front. With England beating Portugal 2-1, Scotland needed to win by two goals and their best chance came when Leanne Crichton missed from three yards.Silvia Meseguer hit the bar for Spain, while Scotland threw everything at them late on but could not fashion a goal.
It was a heartbreaking end to Scotland’s first appearance at a major finals, but they restored pride after opening defeats by England and Portugal.Scotland began the game knowing if they could win by two goals they would qualify for the knock-out stage, providing England beat Portugal in the other Group D match.
After an impressive performance from the bench against Portugal, Erin Cuthbert was rewarded with a starting place, one of four changes with Leanne Ross, Jo Love and Chloe Arthur all handed a shirt.
It was Scotland’s Fay who was the busier of the two goalkeepers early on, though, as Marta Torrejon and Meseguer tested Scotland’s early resolve.And as the game wore on, Spain grew in confidence with Amanda Sampedro missing the target after Mariona Caldentey squared the ball for her.
Then Fay went from villain to hero. After flapping at a loose ball and conceding a corner, she twice pulled off stunning saves to push away headers from Jennifer Hermoso and Irene Paredes.
And she almost went back to being the villain when she raced from goal and handled outside the box. As the Spaniards roared for a red card, referee Jana Adamkova did Scotland a huge favour by reaching for just the yellow.
The Scots were hanging on, but against the run of play they took a stunning lead.
Cuthbert raced on to a through-ball, but was denied by Spanish goalkeeper Sandra Panos.
However, the ball fell for Weir who held off the goalkeeper’s challenge and fired through the legs of Paredes, who could only help the ball into her own net.
Frankie Brown twice denied substitute Maria Paz at the near post with brave challenges to keep Scotland ahead, before Crichton somehow smashed a corner over the bar at the other end.
And the Spanish substitute was continuing to cause problems; bulleting a header into the side netting then drilling a shot wide of the far post minutes later.
Scotland needed a second goal but they were struggling to keep the Spanish at bay.
Meseguer was given far too much time and space to pick her spot, and Fay could only watch as her shot cracked off the crossbar.
Paz headed wide from close range, and she again went close when Ifeoma Dieke cleared off the line after Alexia Putellas had been denied by Fay.A rare Scotland attack saw Lisa Evans force a save from distance but it always looked comfortable for Panos.
Time was ticking away for Scotland but they were becoming more of a threat. Crichton headed a Weir free-kick over, but that was as close as they could get in a frustrating finish to Anna Signeul’s time as head coach, with Spain pipping Scotland to second place in the group.
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