Belfast Telegraph

'It's just really, really sore': Scotland slam decisions after controversial Women's World Cup exit

Scotland 3-3 Argentina

Sore point: Erin Cuthbert and her Scotland team-mates feel the heartbreak after their agonising exit from the World Cup last night
Sore point: Erin Cuthbert and her Scotland team-mates feel the heartbreak after their agonising exit from the World Cup last night

By Gavin McCafferty

Scotland crashed out of the Women's World Cup in heartbreaking fashion after letting slip a three-goal lead to draw 3-3 with Argentina.

Shelley Kerr's side appeared on course for the win they needed in their final group game as goals from Kim Little, Jennifer Beattie and Erin Cuthbert put them 3-0 up with 21 minutes remaining at the Parc des Princes.

Qualification for the knockout stage was within Scotland's grasp as one of the best third-placed finishers. But Argentina hit back through goals from substitute Milagros Menendez and Florencia Bonsegundo.

Then, a VAR-awarded spot-kick taken by Bonsegundo was saved by keeper Lee Alexander, but she was off her line and the Argentina forward converted second time round in injury time.

Alexander admitted she was "devastated" after such a terrible, late collapse.

"We deserved to win the game," she said. "Countless decisions went against us in the tournament. It's hard to put into words but we know we belong on this stage.

"It should have been three points. We're absolutely gutted. We feel very hard done by over the three games. I don't know how Argentina kept 11 players on."

Scotland captain Rachel Corsie added: "I thought we were outstanding. We just weren't going to get the decisions. The third goal is ridiculous. It was clear for everyone to see that we were still making a substitution. I don't understand how that can be allowed at this level.

"They're making the rules really, really strict and we were making a substitution while we were defending a free-kick and for some reason the referee has allowed the play to continue. It's just really, really sore."

Kerr's side looked vulnerable on the counter-attack though and almost went behind in the 17th minute when Mariana Larroquette's header struck the bar.

But two minutes later Scotland took the lead. Cuthbert reacted well after her powerful shot was parried by Argentina goalkeeper Vanina Correa, playing the rebound across the six-yard area for Little to tap home.

Argentina still posed a threat and a well-timed tackle by Corsie in the penalty area denied Sole Jaimes a shot on goal.

Scotland gave themselves a cushion with a second goal four minutes into the second half when defender Beattie headed home Caroline Weir's cross.

Cuthbert was on hand to turn home Scotland's third from another rebound in the 69th minute, but the Scots were then dealt a double whammy as the South Americans struck twice in three minutes.

Argentina substitute Menendez took advantage of a mix-up to fire under Alexander in the 74th minute and Bonsegundo fired a shot from outside the area in off the underside of the bar.

Scotland's worst fears appeared to have been realised when Sophie Howard, moments after stepping off the bench, sent Aldana Cometti tumbling in the box with four minutes left.

Bonsegundo's spot-kick, awarded after being referred to VAR, was saved by Alexander, but in an incredible finale the VAR ordered a retake after ruling the goalkeeper had moved both feet off her goal line and the Argentinian struck the equaliser.

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