Women's World Cup 2019

Scots 'hard done by' after VAR retake

Argentina's Eliana Stabile consoling Scotland's Erin Cuthbert after the South Americans snatched a 3-3 draw thanks to a controversial stoppage-time penalty at the Parc des Princes. The result eliminated the Scots.
Argentina's Eliana Stabile consoling Scotland's Erin Cuthbert after the South Americans snatched a 3-3 draw thanks to a controversial stoppage-time penalty at the Parc des Princes. The result eliminated the Scots.PHOTO: REUTERS

PARIS • Argentina pulled off an unprecedented Women's World Cup fightback from 3-0 down to draw 3-3 with Scotland, but it is the video assistant referee's decision to award a stoppage-time penalty retake that will be etched in memory.

The Group D game on Wednesday descended into chaos when the VAR was first used to award a debatable penalty three minutes from full-time. Yet the drama and disbelief escalated when Argentina forward Florencia Bonsegundo's kick was saved.

The VAR, however, judged that goalkeeper Lee Alexander was off her line and the kick was retaken, with Bonsegundo scoring to send Scotland home and keep her side's faint hopes of reaching the last 16 alive ahead of last night's games.

New regulations brought in from June 1 mean that goalkeepers must have one foot at least partly on the goal line when the kick is taken and can neither stand behind nor in front of the line.

"I said at the start of the tournament that if VAR helps to come to the right decisions, I'm in favour of it. But tonight we feel hard done by," said Scotland coach Shelley Kerr, declining to talk about the decision to retake the penalty.

The new rule has already been put to the test at this Cup. France snatched a 1-0 win against Nigeria after the VAR stepped in to rule that Wendie Renard's missed kick should be retaken because goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie had partially moved off her line.

France's sports daily newspaper L'Equipe, derided that decision, describing it is "incomprehensible".

The rule was perhaps clearer when Jamaica goalkeeper Sydney Schneider was penalised for jumping way off her line to save Italy's Cristiana Girelli's penalty.

Asked about the incident, Argentina coach Carlos Borrello was diplomatic, saying: "Experience has taught me that there is no point in disputing. When a referee makes a decision, there is no point arguing."

In the other match, England coach Phil Neville believes his Lionesses are "right where they want to be" after topping the group with a perfect record following a 2-0 win over Japan.

The Asian champions also progressed as one of the top two teams in each of the six groups, with the four best third-placed teams to make up the last 16.

He said: "We're where we want to be - in the last 16 and ready to attack the business end of the tournament."

REUTERS, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 21, 2019, with the headline 'Scots 'hard done by' after VAR retake'. Print Edition | Subscribe