Under the guidance of Swedish manager Anna Signeul, the side enjoyed an exceptional qualifying campaign that brought seven victories from eight games to finish runners-up behind Iceland. The tournament would bring Signeul's 12-year spell as national team manager to close, and while her side failed to make it through the group stage, it was fitting that her tenure would end with a victory in their third and final match at the tournament.
Jane Ross and Kim Little scored 15 goals between them during the qualifying campaign, but a serious knee injury would rule Little out of the finals. It was a significant blow for Scotland, especially with the daunting prospect of facing England in the opening game in Utrecht. Managed at the time by Welshman Mark Sampson, England headed to the Netherlands as one of the favourites having finished third at the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup, and proved to be far too strong for Scotland as a Jodie Taylor hat-trick made the headlines in a 6-0 victory.
Four days later, Scotland made the journey to Rotterdam to take on Portugal in their second group game, but the side again fell behind as Carolina Mendes opened the scoring on 27 minutes. However, Scotland would celebrate their first goal at the finals of a major tournament when Erin Cuthbert equalised midway through the second half. The lead was short-lived as Portugal regained the advantage when substitute Ana Leite scored what would prove to be the winner just minutes after coming off the bench.
The third and final match for Scotland took place in Deventer against Spain, and it was Caroline Weir who would make history as her goal just before half-time proved to be the difference between the two teams as the side claimed their first victory at a major tournament. Weir was named player of the match, and it the win would see Signeul end her time with the national team on a high.
“The players were spot on with their performance and with the biggest heart I've seen,” said Signeul to BBC Scotland after the match. “I'm so proud of them all. We don't deserve to go home. We have some absolutely fantastic players in this team and it's just a shame they haven't been able to show that before. After the first two games, if people thought Scotland were not very good then tonight they will know what we are all about. We are all about heart, but we also play good football, have great technique and actually coped physically as well. I am absolutely convinced that this team will go on and qualify for the next World Cup. Hopefully we've got some new fans because this is important for the future.”