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WOMEN'S FOOTBALL: Scots left to sweat over their Euro fate.

Byline: GINNY CLARK

SCOTLAND face an agonising wait before discovering if their 3-2 win over the Czech Republic will be enough to secure a Euro Championship play-off spot.

Vera Pauw's heroic side, on a final 12 points after Sunday's success at Victoria Park, are hoping to be one of two best third-place finishers.

And although hopes are high, the numbers don't stack up well.

Russia, on 11 points, are likely to be defeated by France on September 26 but expected to overcome Hungary on October 3.

Finland, also on 12 points, play Sweden on October 2. The Swedes have already qualified and must beat Finland by three clear goals if the Scots are to edge through on goal difference.

However, Pauw's delight at the crucial victory was tempered by her frustration over the standard of refereeing.

The Scotland boss says some women referees are being assigned to international games without the expected expertise and experience - and it's an increasing concern to every international set-up.

Pauw has now pledged to raise the issue with UEFA as a matter of urgency.

She said: 'This is a real problem and it's destroying the game.

'UEFA are content to leave quality to national associations. The SFA has an excellent record but that is not the case with some other associations.

'We must ensure any referee's quality is tested before they handle a game.

'UEFA should look at producing guidelines to help raise the overall standards.'

Despite the tense wait, Pauw is proud of Scotland's achievement against the Czechs.

Hibs striker Suzanne Malone opened the scoring with captain and Arsenal striker Julie Fleeting equalising following the Czech's double strike.

The winner came from Motherwell ace Rhonda Jones who headed home in the last minute.

It was the defender's first Scotland game in four years since she took up a scholarship with Florida Atlantic University.

Jones, who graduated as a graphic designer this year, was the college side's most successful player and a regular in regional selection.

The third goal was set up by Suzanne Grant's corner - as the Glasgow City midfielder and team-mate and twin Shelley continue to impress.

City boss Peter Caulfield said: 'They've both done exceptionally well since coming to the club over the summer.

'In fact I'm delighted by the way the whole team has started this season.

'We've been disciplined, determined and composed and had some excellent results.'

That's a standard Caulfield will be expecting to continue in the Premier League derby at Queen's Park on Sunday.

Sunday fixtures: Premier League - Aberdeen v Hibern-ian, Clyde v Kilmarnock, Cove Rangers v Newburgh, East Kilbride v Hamilton, Queen's Park v Glasgow City, Raith Rovers v Whitehill Welfare.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Sep 8, 2004
Words:444
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