Incredible finish sees Scotland lose three-goal lead to Argentina to crash out of World Cup

Scotland crashed out.
Scotland crashed out.

Scotland are out of the Women’s World Cup in France, after drawing 3-3 with Argentina in Paris.

More than 20,000 people watched the Scots pull three goals ahead and put themselves into prime position to progress as one of the four top third-place finishers.

However, they finish bottom of Group D without any points after conceding three goals in the final half an hour – including an incredible penalty, which was awarded by VAR review before Scots keeper Lee Alexander was punished for coming off her line early to make a double save and the spot-kick retaken.

Erin Cuthbert volleyed wide after not much more than a minute for Shelley Kerr’s side, with Leanne Crichton’s first World Cup start in holding midfield allowing creative midfielders Kim Little and Caroline Weir to get higher up the pitch.

However, Scotland soon found themselves hemmed in. Loose passes as they tried to play out from the back were allowing Argentina to build pressure, culminating in Mariana Larroquette hitting the bar.

Lee Alexander stood tall to block a Sole Jaimes effort from the rebound and the striker couldn’t manoeuvre a third effort.

It started to feel near inevitable Kerr’s team would end up behind early like they had against Japan and England.

However, Scotland’s nerve-settling opener came on 20 minutes.

Erin Cuthbert ran on to the ball on the left of Argentina’s box, before hitting a powerful drive from the angle which keeper Vanina Correa blocked.

Cuthbert then had the composure to pass to the edge of the six-yard box and Little was there to prod home.

A relief, but not the end of Argentina. Scotland remained liable to give possession away cheaply.

Skipper Rachel Corsie done well a couple of times, putting her body on the line against physical centre-forward Jaimes to snuff out the danger.

Up the other end, Scotland were playing some good stuff and started to look like scoring again.

Claire Emslie had a header from a corner, then – on 36 minutes – the speedy winger almost turned provider for the sliding Cuthbert, with Correa just getting to a low cross before the striker.

In first half stoppage time, Weir lashed wide from range as Scotland tried once more to pull away.

After the break, Scotland came out firing.

An early corner was cleared, but the ball dropped to Little, then Weir on the right. The midfielder delivered a pearler of a cross straight on to centre-back Jen Beattie’s head and she was able to nod over Correa for the Dark Blues’ second.

Beattie heading Scotland’s second.

Three points were now all but secure for Kerr’s team, with Crichton dominating the middle of the park and Weir taking some brilliant touches.

On 68 minutes, Cuthbert latched on to a long ball forward and, after a good turn, forced a low save from 18 yards.

From the corner, Crichton’s header was tipped on to the bar by Correa, but Cuthbert was there to slam home Scotland’s third.

Just when progress in France was certain, Argentina pulled a goal back.

Beattie lost out in a challenge on halfway, and Milagros Menendez was able to drive forward and slide the ball past Alexander to set up a nervy finish.

If that wasn’t worrying enough, on 79 minutes, Florencia Bonsegundo lashed off of the cross bar from the edge of the box – after a poor clearance from Kirsty Smith – and Alexander’s fingertips sent the ball over the line.

With less than seven minutes to play, substitute Sophie Howard, on at right-back to replace Smith, slid in on Cometti in the box and got none of the ball.

It took a lengthy VAR review for the referee  to award a penalty and it was after 90 minutes before Bonsegundo stepped up to take the spot-kick.

Alexander saved, before parrying the close-range rebound wide, but then another VAR review resulted in a retake because the keeper had come off her line early.

The Glasgow City stopper won’t be the last to fall foul of the controversial new rule brought in by FIFA.

Alexander initially saved the spot-kick.

Bonsegundo stepped up again, and this time she rolled it past the keeper and into the net.

It was a heartbreaking, quite surreal moment – and then to compound the misery the referee blew the final whistle, incredibly, after just four minutes of injury time.

 

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