Belfast Telegraph

Scotland boosted by Sir Alex's support before must-win clash


Keeping faith: Scotland Women’s manager Shelley Kerr
Keeping faith: Scotland Women’s manager Shelley Kerr
Sir Alex Ferguson

By Phil Medlicott

Scotland boss Shelley Kerr has spoken about a message of support received from Sir Alex Ferguson ahead of today's Women's World Cup clash with Argentina in Paris.

Kerr's side head into their final Group D match needing to win to have a chance of making the last 16, following 2-1 losses to England and Japan.

Regarding former Manchester United manager Ferguson, Kerr said at a pre-match press conference on Tuesday: "Everyone knows Sir Alex, so I probably won't tell you everything, because he did say he was disappointed with some of the decisions that were made against us."

She added: "He was very complimentary about the team, the determination, the stamina, the togetherness of the team to finish so strongly in both games.

"He's watched both of them and sent us a message before we came here.

"It's absolutely brilliant for myself as a manager for him to contact me, and also for the players, for him to pass on his best wishes.

"He's going to be tuning in to (watch) the game tomorrow night. So it's brilliant, a great bit of support from an absolute legend."

If Scotland beat an Argentina outfit that have so far drawn 0-0 with Japan and lost 1-0 to England, they will replace them in third place in the group.

Four of the six third-placed finishers will join the group winners and runners-up in advancing to the next round.

Argentina are 37th in the world rankings, 17 places below Scotland, and when asked if it was a game her side should win on paper, Kerr said: "Yes, I think if you go by Fifa rankings.

"This is a game we are looking to win, there is no doubt about that."

Asked if she would have taken the current scenario before the tournament started, Kerr said: "One hundred per cent.

"Not in a negative way, but we probably planned to be in this situation.

"We were hopeful that we would have taken something from the first two games, but we always knew that it would probably come down to this last game against Argentina, and I think it has the makings of a really good game."

Meanwhile, England forward Toni Duggan has declared she will be fit for their clash with Japan today and says she is "itching to get out there."

Duggan sustained a thigh problem in training the day after the Lionesses arrived in France for the tournament and subsequently sat out their opening two Group D games - a 2-1 win against Scotland and 1-0 victory over Argentina.

Looking ahead to today's match in Nice, the 27-year-old said: "I'm going to be fit, so I have a big smile on my face.

"It's really frustrating to pick up an injury at any point in a year, but the first day of a World Cup was really disappointing.

"I'm back now and I want to look ahead and hopefully help the team in the tournament. I'm itching to get out there."

In last night's games, it was a night to forget for Sion Swifts goalkeeper Nicole McClure as she made a horror mistake in Jamaica's 4-1 loss to Australia.

The Swifts star attempted to clear a simple back-pass, only to miss the ball entirely, allowing Australian striker Sam Kerr - who scored all four of their goals - in for the finish.

Elsewhere, Marta's penalty was the difference in a 1-0 win for Brazil over Italy.

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