Willie Miller: Lessons must make difference for Scotland in Argentina World Cup clash

Shelley Kerr.
Shelley Kerr.

Scotland’s women must learn the lessons from their opening two World Cup games to see off Argentina on Wednesday.

The chance of qualification for the knock-out stages is still there for Shelley Kerr’s squad.

Facing Argentina in the Group D closer is a must-win game but the Scots are more than capable of claiming three points.

I have been in that situation myself at a World Cup and know how nervous that can be with so much at stake.

The important thing is that they get the three points and hope other results go their way to get to the knock-out stages.

The squad has been progressing substantially over the years and it is a major achievement to reach a World Cup.

If they were to go that extra step and make the knock-out stages it would be a fantastic feat.

It would also continue the forward momentum for the women’s game in Scotland.

Competing in the World Cup finals is territory Scotland’s women are not used to and the experience, and lessons, are invaluable.

Ultimately the 2-1 defeat to Japan on Friday was a case of lessons not learnt from the opening defeat to England.

Scotland coach Shelly Kerr admitted herself it was a case of deja vu.

The defeats to both England and Japan were similar in that Scotland did not reach the level they are capable of.

Only in the second half did they reach their form.

Overall they have not consistently reached the quality or level of performance they would have hoped to put in.

I accept Scotland were playing against two of the best teams in the world.

Despite that they went into the group games against England and Japan with a lot of optimism that they could get something.

After the 2-1 loss to England I said the Scots would have to perform against Japan at the same level they did in the second half in that Group D opener.

However they did not do that.

The problem with any game of football is that you have to take part in the early stages.

You have to compete early on so that you do not fall out of the game.

In the England game in particular Scotland only really played in the second half.

And even then Scotland only showed their form when 2-0 down.

It was similar against Japan because once the game has moved away from you it becomes very difficult to get into it.

Despite losing both their group games Scotland still have an opportunity to qualify for the knock-out stages going into the last game against Argentina.

It will all come down to Scotland’s creativity against Argentina who look like they will be difficult to break down.

On the basis of their opening two games Argentina will not pose too many problems going forward. Three points are a must against Argentina and they are more than capable of doing that – but it will take a performance over both halves.

There was also defeat for Scotland’s men’s team against the best side in the world when losing 3-0 away to Belgium.

What was apparent in that defeat and in the 2-1 victory over Cyprus is that new manager Steve Clarke has Scotland set up to be difficult to beat.

Clarke has built his reputation in Scotland over the last two years in taking a group of players and moulding them into a team.

The most important thing is to qualify for a major tournament for the first time since the World Cup in 1998.

It looks unlikely that will happen by finishing second in the Euro 2020 qualifying group.

However we still have the Nations League play-off and if Clarke can get the team organised and playing in the manner he wants there is real hope that the men can seal Euro qualification.