Scotland captain Rachel Corsie says they will bounce back from their gut-wrenching World Cup exit at the Parc des Princes in Paris.
Needing a win against Argentina to all but secure progression to the last 16 as one of the four best third-place teams, Shelley Kerr’s Scots led 3-0 courtesy of goals from Mintlaw’s Kim Little, Jen Beattie and Erin Cuthbert.
However, in the last 20 minutes they conceded three times to draw and finish bottom of Group D with a solitary point.
The final goal came after VAR chaos, where a penalty was awarded after a review of Sophie Howard’s challenge on Aldana Cometti.
Lee Alexander saved Florencia Bonsegundo’s effort, only for VAR to again intervene as she had stepped off of her line. The Argentine made no mistake given a second chance.
Corsie thinks a free-kick awarded to Argentina in the build-up to substitute Howard’s challenge shouldn’t have been given, as another replacement, Fiona Brown, was in the process of coming on to the park.
Aberdonian skipper Corsie said: “We were making a substitute before we defended a free kick and for some reason she has allowed the play to continue.
“It is just so disappointing as it has ultimately cost us the tournament.
“I thought we were outstanding.
“We just weren’t going to get the decisions and that is the bottom line.
“The first goal was a foul (on midfielder Leanne Crichton).
“The third goal is ridiculous. It was clear for everyone to see that we were making a sub.
“I don’t understand how that can that be allowed at this level.”
After a faster Scotland start than the first two games – 2-1 losses to England and Japan – loose passing brought pressure, culminating in Mariana Larroquette hitting the bar for Argentina.
Alexander then stood tall to block a Sole Jaimes effort from the rebound.
However, Scotland’s nerve-settling opener came on 20 minutes.
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.
The attacker then had the composure to pass to the edge of the six-yard box and Little was there to prod home.
Scotland weren’t comfortable, but they looked to be in control.
They got a second quickly after the break. A cleared corner dropped to Little, then Caroline Weir on the right. The midfielder delivered a pearler of a cross straight on to centre-back Beattie’s head and she was able to nod over Correa for the Dark Blues’ second.
With Crichton now dominating the middle of the park and Weir taking some brilliant touches the game looked secure.
With little over 20 minutes to play, a Crichton header was tipped on to the bar by Correa, but Cuthbert was there to slam home Scotland’s third and really put a gloss on things.
Then, just when progress in France looked academical, 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 enough of a gut punch, 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 Howard, on at right-back to replace Smith, slid in on Cometti in the box to complete the implosion.
It took a lengthy VAR review for referee Hyang-Ok Ri to work out whether Howard had got a touch on the ball. It was after 90 minutes before Bonsegundo stepped up to take the spot-kick and then try again, successfully.
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.
Despite the shattering nature of the draw and the end of a historic first Women’s World Cup campaign for the Scots, Corsie believes they gave “everything” and can “bounce back”.
She said: “I am proud of everybody.
“We absolutely gave everything. You never question that with us.
“We were outstanding and we deserved to be three goals ahead.
“The girls are upset but we will bounce back – we always do.”