Eleanor Lee looks at what we can take from Scotland’s 3-3 draw against Argentina and their subsequent exit from the Women’s World Cup
Too much too soon?
3-0 up in a must-win game with only 20 minutes to go is by all means a comfortable position to be in. World Cup debutants Scotland looked confident and in control, however it was perhaps over-confidence which allowed Argentina back in the game.
Scotland manager Shelley Kerr seemed to blame the ‘poor refereeing’ for their World Cup exit. Scotland have been victims of VAR in all of their games during the competition, however they must take some responsibility for allowing a three goal advantage to slip.
Their hard work was undone by a lack of composure. Having spent 70 minutes of the game demonstrating their authority, they left themselves vulnerable by taking their foot off the gas and relying on that 3-0 lead.
This must go down as a learning experience and the foundations for success are certainly there. Perhaps this year was just too much too soon for the debutant team. Once the heartbreak has healed, the Scots should use this experience to ensure that next time around they will be more than ready.
Correa can be beaten
Prior to their final group game against Scotland, Argentina had impressed their doubters. A scoreless draw with Japan saw the South Americans muster their first ever World Cup point and although they were defeated by England in their second game, the goalkeeper Vanina Correa proved her worth in what England manager Phil Neville described as an ‘unbelievable goalkeeping performance.’
Correa’s saves were making headlines across the world of football, gaining admiration from rival fans and even helped quiet the ridiculous debate over whether women’s goals should be smaller.
Scotland are the first team in the tournament that have managed to put more than one shot past Correa, but it definitely took a touch of class to do so. 19 minutes in and Kim Little had already found the back of the net following a brilliant assist from Erin Cuthbert. A stunning cross in the second half found Jen Beattie who headed to make it 2-0 before a tap in from Cuthbert 10 minutes later saw Correa picking the ball out of her own net for the third time.
Correa didn’t let her head drop and managed to stop some more superb attempts which would have put the game out of sight for her team. Future opposition should not underestimate one of the emerging stars from this World Cup.
Erin Cuthbert can be here, there and everywhere
The Chelsea starlet was named as one to watch this competition and showed glimpses of that promise in Scotland’s first two group games. England done well to keep her quiet on the opening match however last night saw a brilliantly energetic performance from Cuthbert.
Las Albecelestes tried with all their might to control the Scotswoman, but Cuthbert was quick on the counter, battling defenders whilst she sought out pockets of space in the box. Proving an assist for the first goal and scoring the third, Cuthbert had her most influential match and showed why there was so much excitement around her before the tournament.
Although Scotland’s World Cup journey is over, this performance has highlighted that the sparkling future Cuthbert has ahead of her has only just begun.
VAR is marmite
You either love it or hate it.
At 3-2 to Scotland, a rash challenge by Sophie Howard tripped Aldana Cometti in the box which led to a painfully long VAR check and then an Argentine penalty. With only five minutes to play that wasn’t the last we would hear from VAR as Scotland’s Lee Alexander saved Florencia Bonsegundo’s poor penalty, only to be crushed by a VAR check that revealed Alexander failed to stay on her line, resulting in the penalty being retaken.
Not the first controversial decision that this World Cup has seen and likely not the last, a newly introduced law requires the goalkeeper to have at least one foot on the line when the penalty is being taken. Although an infuriatingly heart-breaking decision, is it simply a case of rules will be rules? Or does this uproar of controversy cause for the rules to be rethought? The Premier League have already had a change of heart following last night’s match, announcing that VAR will not rule on the goalkeeper’s position in penalties next season, with the decision left to the on-field officials.
As we move into the last 16, players will be all the more aware of how quickly VAR can change the direction of a match.
Never say never
Argentina’s performances against England and Japan only seemed to be missing one thing: goals.
Having failed to score in their first two games, overturning a three goal deficit with twenty minutes to go looked unlikely. However, the Argentines never say never attitude proved too much for Scotland as a burst of Argentinian energy shortly after Scotland’s third goal seemed to reignite their chances of taking something from the game. Two tactical changes inspired the South Americans, and saw Milagros Menendez and Dalila Ippolito link up on the counter to bag the first goal before Bonsegundo’s strike hit the back of the net reducing the deficit to just one. Although VAR was on their side, you cannot argue with the team’s spirit and could see how much it meant to the teary-eyed substitutes.
This match will ultimately be remembered for the late penalty drama and VAR controversy, but Argentina’s second-half performance should not be forgotten. Clawing back a three goal deficit with less than 20 minutes to go shows a steel and determination which makes this team all the more deserving of their place in the last 16.
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