Scotland see glass half full as search for first World Cup points goes on

Rennes (France) (AFP) –


Scotland coach Shelley Kerr remained upbeat despite seeing the women's World Cup debutants slump to their second defeat in as many outings at the tournament as they lost 2-1 to Japan on Friday.

The circumstances of the defeat in Rennes were almost identical to their loss by the same scoreline against England at the weekend -- the concession of a penalty contributing to a two-goal half-time deficit, before a late rally saw them reduce the arrears but fall short of finding an equaliser.

"I thought for most of the second half we were terrific and finished really strongly," said Kerr, who saw Lana Clelland come off the bench to get Scotland's goal.

"I am immensely proud of the players because it is their first World Cup, playing against England and then Japan and you narrowly lose to both, so we need to build on it, we need to rest again and get ready for a big game against Argentina."

The Scots have seen two close penalty calls go against them in two games, and felt they should have had a penalty of their own against Japan for a handball late on that was ignored by the Ethiopian referee.

"It is not a hard-luck story. I have watched it back three times and it is a penalty," insisted Kerr.

"There is no point in dwelling on it. It doesn't change anything, we still need to focus on getting a result against Argentina."

Speaking before England faced Argentina, Kerr said her team still had a chance of getting out of Group D and reaching the last 16 as one of the best third-placed teams.

It was a view shared by Chelsea forward Erin Cuthbert as Scotland prepare to face Argentina in Paris next Wednesday seeking their first points.

"Our objective before the tournament was always to win a game and give us a chance to get out of the group," she said.

"It does help that we only lost by one goal in each game, it's not what we wanted to do but in tournament football every goal counts."