WATCHING Scotland squander a seemingly unassailable lead at the death in an important Women’s World Cup match and blow the chance to make it through to the knockout stages was bad enough.

However, the circumstances surrounding the national team’s late collapse in their final Group D match against Argentina in the Parc des Princes last night and subsequent exit from the tournament were just too much to bear.

Drawing the game 3-3 and going out of the competition – having been leading 3-0 with 16 minutes remaining and looking like certainties to make it through to the last 16 – were devastating for my youngest son.

But it was the bizarre and chaotic scenes at the end – when referee Hyang-Ok Ri allowed play to continue despite a Scotland substitute being in the process of entering the field of play, subsequently awarded Argentina a penalty after a lengthy VAR intervention, demanded the spot kick be retaken or Scotland keeper Lee Alexander moving just inches off her line before saving it after another VAR intervention and finally failed to play enough injury-time – which tipped him over the edge.

Try explaining that finish to a nine-year-old. I struggled to understand it all myself. He went to his bed shellshocked by the extraordinary events in Paris and fighting back tears. Who could blame him? Anyone who cares about the beautiful game would, regardless of their allegiances, have been upset by what they witnessed.

Shelley Kerr’s team are certainly deserving of criticism for the pathetic way they blew their chance. To be 3-0 up entering the closing stages of the game and not prevail is, regardless of how it happened, inexcusable at any level. The controversy over the performance of the match official and the penalty has overshadowed the fact Scotland botched it big time.

But FIFA should be utterly embarrassed by the debacle in Paris last night too. VAR is, when used correctly, an invaluable tool which can help referees make the correct decision and avoid injustices happening. Argentina deserved a penalty last night. Sophie Howard did foul Aldana Cometti. But VAR is in very real danger or ruining the game the way it is being deployed.

It could be argued that Alexander leaving her line when the penalty taken was a game-changing error? But would anybody in the Argentina camp have complained if play had continued and the score had remained 3-2? It is doubtful. Every keeper in world football moves to a degree when a a spot kick. The Scotland player did nothing out of the ordinary.

If every football match played is going to be scrutinised to such a ridiculous degree then it will disrupt the flow of matches and alienate and anger supporters.

It wasn’t the first instance of it happening at France ’19. Nigeria lost to the host nation on Monday after Wendie Renard was allowed to retake a penalty which she had initially missed because goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie had strayed marginally off her line. VAR intervened, Renard scored the retake and France won 1-0. Nigeria could go out of the competition as a result.

But perhaps it is the new rule, not VAR, which is really the problem here. The rule, brought in on June 1, now states: “The goalkeeper must have at least part of one foot on/in line with the goal line when the kick is taken and cannot stand behind the line.”

How are keepers possibly meant to save spot kicks diving horizontally? How can they feasibly not make any forward motion? It is making their job nigh on impossible. The referee may have been technically correct to demand the penalty was retaken. But the new rule is going against the spirit of football and is set to make a mockery of games going forward. It will all end in tears.