International

Women's World Cup: Erin Cuthbert and Scotland exit at the group stage

Erin Cuthbert and Scotland’s World Cup dreams were ended in dramatic fashion in Paris this evening, after Argentina came from three goals down in the final 15 minutes to send them home.

The Scots seemed on course to progress to the last 16 of the World Cup when Cuthbert scored her first goal of the tournament to make it 3-0, but three goals in a frantic final quarter of the game saw Argentina claim a share of the spoils and both sides have now failed to qualify from Group D.

A win would have sent Scotland through, along with England and Japan, and right from kick-off they were looking a good bet to do just that, with Cuthbert in particular looking impressive with her tenacious play.

Shelley Kerr’s side broke the deadlock after 19 minutes, with persistent play from Cuthbert rewarded as she set up the Scotland opener.

After skipping past her marker down the left and charging into the Argentina box, the forward was denied by a fine stop before then teeing up team-mate Kim Little to steer home from close range.

A goal shortly after the break from defender Jenny Beattie had Scotland in the driving seat, with her powerful header doubling the advantage.

Cuthbert was at the heart of everything and she soon had the goal her performance deserved, which came shortly after she had forced a good save out of the goalkeeper on 68 minutes to earn a corner.

From that corner, came Erin’s big moment as she was on hand to score her first World Cup goal - becoming the first Blue on the scoresheet at this year's tournament. After the ball came back off the post, the Chelsea striker was in the right place at the right time to turn into the unguarded net to put Scotland firmly in control.

The celebration was a joy to see as well, with Cuthbert sliding on her knees with a wide smile before pulling out a photograph from her sock and displaying it towards her family in the crowd.

The picture was an image of a young Erin, with her father having told her to ‘do it for the girl who dreamed’ before the tournament started.

However nobody could have predicted what was to come in the next 15 minutes. Milagros Menendez pulled a goal back for Argentina to keep the tie alive, sliding the ball through the legs of Scotland goalkeeper Lee Alexander after being sent through on goal.

Five minutes later and another Argentina goal arrived, with a strike from distance creeping over the line after hitting both the underside of the crossbar and goalkeeper Alexander, with the Scotland stopper unluckily credited with an own goal.

Cuthbert was booked in the final stages for time wasting, as Argentina continued to press for an equaliser that would prevent Scotland from progressing and with five minutes remaining, and after a very lengthy VAR check, Argentina were awarded a penalty following a foul from Sophie Howard.

Florencia Bonsegundo was the player entrusted with the responsibility and it seemed as if Alexander was to make up for her own goal after keeping out the Argentine’s spot-kick before another lengthy VAR check saw the referee order a retake of the penalty for encroaching.

The same player stepped up and this time she did tuck her effort away deep into injury time, with the referee blowing for full-time moments later despite no further minutes allowed for the VAR time usage and following protests of players from both sides.

The result sees both Scotland and Argentina head out of the competition and it's heartache for Cuthbert, who had put in a fine display in the French capital.

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