England Women 2-1 Scotland Women: Scots defeated in World Cup opener

Scotland goalkeeper Lee Alexander was outstanding in Sundays 2-1 World Cup defeat against England (Pic by Valery Hache)
Scotland goalkeeper Lee Alexander was outstanding in Sundays 2-1 World Cup defeat against England (Pic by Valery Hache)

Chirnside football ace Joelle Murray was an unused substitute as Scotland women lost 2-1 to England in Sunday’s World Cup opener.

The Scots – ranked 20th in the world – competed well in the Group D opener in Nice against their third ranked opponents, but ultimately succumbed to an England side for whom Berwick-born Lucy Bronze played the entire 90 minutes.

Scotland, making their Women’s World Cup debut, started the match promisingly enough but were sickened after 14 minutes when a handball decision – after a VAR consultation – was awarded against Nicola Docherty at the expense of a penalty.

England’s superb first-half showing centred around the decision to award them the penalty via VAR after Fran Kirby’s cross had hit Docherty’s arm.

Although Scotland fans were unhappy at the officials’ decision to give the spot kick, the award looked to be the correct verdict.

England’s Nikita Parris duly beat Scotland keeper Lee Alexander from the resultant spot kick to put Phil Neville’s side ahead.

England – one of the favourites to win the overall tournament – then proceeded to boss the rest of the first half and Alexander was forced to make a series of fin esaves to keep the Scots in the match.

But our side went 2-0 down just before half-time when Ellen White expertly curled the ball past Alexander to give the English clear daylight.

Scotland – managed by Shelley Kerr – kept plugging away in a second half which was more even than the first.

And they got just rewards for never throwing in the towel with 12 minutes remaining when Claire Emslie slotted in from close range after Steph Houghton’s poor pass had been intercepted.

Although they could not muster an equaliser, Kerr’s side vastly improved on their performance in the 6-0 defeat against England at Euro 2017, before the Scotland head coach was appointed.

And their tenacity should hold them in good stead in their remaining Group D games when they face Japan, ranked seventh in the world, and then Argentina, who are 37th, as they seek to reach the knockout stages.

Kerr said post match: “We know we need to win one game, it doesn’t have to be the first game, even if it would have been nice.

“At a top competition like the World Cup you need to scrutinise yourself to the max, there were a lot of positives for us in the second half though.”

The resilience shown by the Scots against one of the pre tournament favourites is evidence that they can accumulate enough points in their remaining two group games to reach the last 16 knockout stage.

The top two from the six groups, plus four best third placed sides, will progress. Scotland’s next group game is against Japan in Rennes onFriday, KO 2pm.