Kerr keen to accentuate the positives while eliminating the negatives as she prepares for 7th ranked Japan


Scotland women’s coach Shelley Kerr was far more focused on her own side’s first game than that of her Japanese opponent at Thursday’s press conference on the eve of the match between the two sides in Rennes.

Both sides had disappointments in their first games but of very different natures.

Scotland lost 2-1 to England but played far better in the second half, having trailed 2-0 at half time. At that point a heavy defeat looked imminent.

Japan drew 0-0 with hitherto group underdogs Argentina, to much criticism from their local media.

The large Japanese press pack quizzed Kerr to obtain her views on the Japanese performance, but apart from generous praise for the sterling Argentinian effort, she was happier talking about her own side.

She was asked about how she had tackled morale after a game which Scotland lost, but in which they had finished so strongly.

“At half time we made a few tactical adjustments which worked for us. That coupled with the fact that England probably took their foot off the gas, (helped) a little bit.

“But I think when you finish the game so strongly, you need to have a similar mindset and remember the positive things, especially tactically, that helped us in the second half of the game.

“You reflect at this level. You have to critically reflect. You have to critique the players. You have to critique ourselves as coaches because you never learn from anything if you don’t do that.

“It’s important that we’ve addressed that and now it’s about thinking of the positives we had in the second half and taking them into our next game against Japan.”

If it seems she had decided to as it were ‘accentuate the positive’ while ‘eliminating the negative’, what was the net result?

“We’ve got a game plan. I think we need to concentrate on being netter on the ball if we have to create chances because that’s something we didn’t do very  well in the England game, especially in the first half.

“We’ve got the players capable of doing that. And again as Rachel (Corsie) said, we’ve worked really well on the training pitch in the last couple of days to try and put in place a game plan that we think will be successful against Japan.”

So had the results of the first two games altered her plans?

“I think our expectations are still the same. The target hasn’t changed. We still want to try and get our the group. It’s a different type of game.

“We’re going to face a very competent Japanese team that are technically very good players. (They are) proficient with both feet.

“We are very very respectful of their status in world football.”

Asked if the average heights of the two squads could be an advantage, she played the question down with humour, referring to two of her smaller statured players:

“To start with the height difference, when you look at the height difference, I think when you look at Kim Little and Erin Cuthbert, they’re a good match in that department!”

“When teams play against Japan, they have a certain physical advantage,” she concluded but wisely decided not to add any more.

Surely however, the likes of centre half Jennifer Beattie must be relatively excited at the prospect of a few corners normally taken by the accurate Little, to try and win first ball or even target a header directly on goal.

England and Argentina also meet today with the Lionesses expected to do what Japan failed to, and breach the Albiceleste defence.

What could it all mean?

The four best third place teams qualify for the knockout stages in this tournament.

On the results so far, it looks like most of those third place sides will take three points, which means one win and a decent goal difference would see Scotland through.

Having only lost 2-1 to England, a defeat today is unlikely to be the end of their hopes. A two goal win against Argentina in their final group game would almost certainly be enough.

Should Scotland draw today, any win in their third game would be sufficient.

If Scotland overcome the odds and win, a draw in their final game would secure second place and automatic qualification.


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