Sir Alex Ferguson sends message of support to Scotland Women

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Scotland have received a message of support from Sir Alex Ferguson ahead of Wednesday’s Women’s World Cup clash with Argentina in Paris.

Shelley Kerr’s side need to win their final Group D match 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: “He’s watched both (games) 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.

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“He’s going to be tuning into the game tomorrow night. It’s brilliant, a great bit of support from an absolute legend.

“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!

“He was very complimentary about the team, the determination, the stamina, the togetherness of the team to finish so strongly in both games.”

If Scotland beat an Argentina outfit that have so far have drawn 0-0 with Japan and lost 1-0 to England, they will replace them in third spot. Four of the six third-placed finishers will join the group winners and runners-up in advancing to the next round.

Against both England and Japan, Kerr’s team scored towards the end as they rallied after going 2-0 down in the first half.

Japan v Scotland – FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 – Group D – Roazhon Park

In the England match they had a penalty awarded against them for handball following a VAR check, and in the second game, Erin Cuthbert’s appeal that Japan’s Risa Shimizu had handled in the box was turned down.

VAR took centre-stage on Monday night as hosts France beat Nigeria 1-0 thanks to a retaken Wendie Renard penalty. Renard hit the post with her original effort, but it was ruled via VAR that Nigeria goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie stepped off her line early.

When asked about VAR on Tuesday, Kerr said: “I think it’s like anything – when it’s new, there’s going to be some teething problems.

“You look at Nigeria and they were so unfortunate. We’ve had our fair share already in this tournament. I think eventually it will be good for the game, but sometimes when you are in that moment, you don’t quite see it like that.”

England v Scotland – FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 – Group D – Stade de Nice

Kerr stressed the decisions that have gone against Scotland – who are at their first Women’s World Cup finals – do not give them any added motivation, and said: “When decisions are made in games, you have got to move on, it’s as simple as that.”

She added: “We’re ready for the game. If you think about our two previous games, I think a lot of people have been caught up expecting Scotland to win – in some ways that’s good, because it’s a credit to the players in terms of what people think of us. But in reality we have played two formidable teams.

“We have to be more attacking in this game. It’s something we’ve been good at across the campaign to get us here, and I’ve no doubt that if our players are prepared well enough and they bring their A game, it will be a positive result for us.”

Having faced teams ranked third (England) and seventh (Japan) in the world, 20th-ranked Scotland now take on opposition lying 17 places below them.

Japan v Scotland – FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 – Group D – Roazhon Park

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

Forward Cuthbert, who joined Kerr at the press conference, said: “Going in as the underdogs (against England and Japan), we’ve had to maybe sit in and be more defensively structured.

“I think with Argentina, we know that if we bring our A game, they are not going to be able to live with us.”

Cuthbert also confirmed she was “feeling fine” after taking a knock to the ankle against Japan.

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