SHELLEY Kerr has brushed aside criticisms made by the former United States goalkeeper Hope Solo

about Scotland’s World Cup performances.

The American, who is working

as a pundit for the BBC at the tournament, won more than 200 caps for her country and has winners’ medals from two Olympic tournaments and the last World Cup in Canada.

She also played in the same

Seattle Reign side as the Scotland captain Rachel Corsie and midfielder Kim Little.

“I’m not seeing a lot of movement in the entire Scottish team, there’s

no dynamic runs and everyone’s

just kind of waiting for the ball,”

she commented during Friday’s 2-1 defeat to Japan at Roazhon Park in Rennes..

“It gives Japan too much time and space. Right now, Japan are doing what they want to do on the ball because of the amount of space on the field.

“Rachel Corsie in the backline is dropping and dropping and dropping, and when they regain control of the ball they’re not gaining space.”

Solo was also critical of Corsie’s central defensive partner, Jenny Beattie, for turning her back on the ball as Japan scored their first goal through Mana Iwabuchi, but Kerr responded: “Listen, I’ve no problem with stick.

“I’ll take it all day long – just maybe off someone who comes from

coaching stock. Sometimes as an ex-player you do these things, but unless you’ve got experience as a manager or a coach it’s hard to really know what it’s like.”

Kerr and her players travelled by train from Rennes to Paris yesterday ahead of the final Group D game against Argentina at Parc des Princes on Wednesday night.

Scotland can’t qualify automatically for the last 16 after losing to England and Japan, and must beat the lowest-ranked team in the group to stand any chance as

one of the four best third-placed sides who will make up the remaining qualifiers.

“There’s a real sense of pride among the squad right now,” Kerr said. “That’s two games against

two of the world’s top 10 – a previous winner, a previous runner-up, a favourite to win it this year – and for me, 2-1 and 2-1, and scoring against both? We’ve done okay.

“We’ve been 2-0 down in both games. I think a Scottish team in the past would maybe have gone on to lose 4- or 5-0. Instead we’ve come away with a narrow defeat against third and seventh best in the world. It’s not the worst.

“We had a very harsh penalty given against us in the England game and didn’t get one that should have at least gone to VAR against Japan. And just before the first Japanese goal we’ve been pulled up for an offside that’s two yards on.

“The downside for me is that people back home seem to think

we should be beating these

teams, despite them being third

and seventh in the world and us

being 20th. Do I think we’re quite there yet? I don’t, that’s my honest opinion. There are real signs of this team improving and growing, but we’ve a bit to go yet.

“It’s our first World Cup and some of our play has been good, even if there has also been stuff you just can’t do against the really top teams. That’s where we need more variation in our play, and that will only come with experience.”

While Kerr might have privately hoped to squeeze something out of the first two games, nothing has changed in terms of her aim to lead Scotland to the knock-out stages for the first time in the country’s footballing history. The script was always to beat Argentina in the third group match.

What has altered is how well the South Americans have stood up to the challenge of their first two games. Despite being 17 places lower in the FIFA rankings they did better than Scotland, taking a point from Japan and then containing England to a narrow 1-0 win in Le Havre on Friday night.

The Argentinians have in the past been treated shamefully by their national association – they played no games between 2015 and 2017 and lost their FIFA ranking – but have shown in France that they have bounced back as a well organised and disciplined team.

The Japan game in Rennes was, meanwhile, an auspicious one for Glasgow City’s Hayley Lauder as it brought up 100 Scotland caps. The 29-year-old won her first cap against Italy in the 2010 Cyprus Cup.

“It’s absolutely an honour,” she said of reaching the landmark. “You don’t think the day will ever come when you start out. I’m raw now [after the Japan defeat], but I’m sure I’ll look back on it with great fondness in a few days or weeks.

“It’s a must-win for us against Argentina. We won’t shy away from that. We just need to recover well, work hard and concentrate on that game.”