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Scotland players have burst into tears on the field after their World Cup campaign was ended in heartbreaking and controversial fashion.
Scotland were knocked out on Wednesday after Argentina came back from 3-0 down to snatch a 3-3 draw with a last gasp re-taken penalty following a dramatic intervention from the video assistant referee.
Scotland thought they had survived an almighty scare when keeper Lee Alexander saved Florencia Bonsegundo's spot kick in stoppage time, but the VAR judged the keeper was off her line before the kick was taken.
— Optus Sport (@OptusSport) June 19, 2019
Bonsegundo made no mistake with her second effort, sealing a remarkable fightback that left Scotland bottom of Group D and out of the tournament while third-placed Argentina kept alive their slim hopes of making the last 16.
"I'm absolutely gutted for the team," Scotland's Erin Cuthbert, player of the match, told reporters.
"I think we should have put the game to bed. We were on top of the game, but these things happen.
“It's football. It gives you incredible highs but also incredible lows and we saw that again tonight."
Scotland needed a win to have any chance of getting through and looked to have comfortably sealed victory having taken a 3-0 lead after 70 minutes with goals from Kim Little, Jennie Beattie and Cuthbert.
Argentina should have taken the lead after suffocating Scotland in the early stages and on 17 minutes Mariana Larroquette smashed a header against the bar.
They paid for that miss when Cuthbert burst into the penalty area two minutes later shooting powerfully at keeper Vanina Correa, who saved, but the Chelsea forward reacted quickest to cut the ball back to Little who slid home.
The goal freed the Scots, who appeared fully in control after the restart with Beattie doubling the lead from a Caroline Weir cross.
Cuthbert then looked to have killed off the match in the 68th minute when she reacted quickest to stroke the ball in after Leanne Crichton headed onto the post.
Yet with little to play for Argentina brought on Dalila Ippolito and Milagros Menendez midway through the second half, rejuvenating their toothless attack.
Menendez first slipped home from a through ball by Ippolito and then Bonsegundo's shot on the 74th minute from outside the box crossed the line setting up a grand-stand finish.
A VAR review then confirmed Aldana Cometti was brought down in the 87th minute, but Bonsegundo's poor penalty was initially saved only for the referee to call for the kick to be retaken after consulting the VAR.
Bonsegundo fired home second time round, as Argentina became the first ever side to come from three goals down to avoid defeat in a women’s World Cup match.
"It's unbelievable what can happen in four minutes," Argentina coach Carlos Borrello told reporters.
"We do have a chance now. Getting fresh players on the pitch and finding the right combinations and positions (was key). I'm left with a bitter taste because if we'd given a little bit more we could have won."
Scotland captain Rachel Corsie told the BBC she couldn’t believe the refereeing blunders.
“I thought we were outstanding. We just weren’t going to get the decisions and that was the bottom line,” she said.
“The third goal is ridiculous. It was clear for everyone to see that we were still making a substitution. I don’t understand how that can be allowed at this level.
“They’re making the rules really, really strict and we were making a substitution while we were defending a free-kick and for some reason the referee has allowed the play to continue. It’s just really, really sore that that is what has ultimately cost us the tournament.”
Scotland goalkeeper Lee Alexander said she was “devastated”.
“It should have been three points. We’re absolutely gutted,” she said.
“We feel very hard done by over the three games.”
Scotland coach Shelley Kerr said the decision to allow play to continue during a substitution “an absolute farce”.
“Some of the decisions were appalling to say the least,” she said.
“There is a ball on the pitch and they play on, we try and make a substitution and we can’t, it’s just an absolute farce, but it doesn’t take away the fact we were comfortable in the game and conceded three goals.
“We will look back. We are all gutted just now.”
Scotland finished bottom of Group D with one point, a point behind Argentina who have a slim chance of qualifying as one of the best third-placed sides.
The drama left the football world raging.
— Andy Smythe (@acsmythe) June 19, 2019
— This Bitter Echo (@liebemarx) June 19, 2019
I might be absolutely raging at the injustice of the way @Kerr5Shelley’s @ScotlandNT women’s team have been treated, they’ve done the most incredible job getting to the first World Cup in 21 years of any Scotland team.
They absolutely played their socks off. #Proud #SWNT 💪⚽️🏴
— Hannah Bardell 🏴🏳️🌈 (@HannahB4LiviMP) June 19, 2019
😡 Ridiculous. Seriously.
Scotland are out of the Women's World Cup because VAR farcically decides Lee Alexander was a millimetre off her line when saving a last-gasp penalty.
Gets retaken, Argentina equalise.
Yes, 'rules are rules' but come on.#SCOARG #FIFAWWC pic.twitter.com/kwWtgSehKB
— Sporting Life Football (@SportingLifeFC) June 19, 2019
— Emily Thomson (@emilythomson11) June 19, 2019
What actually just happened in that game? The standard of football well outweighs the standard of officiating, that was embarrassing at a World Cup. There was still well over 4 mins to play and the referee blows her whistle???
— Connie McLaughlin (@missconniemac) June 19, 2019
Absolutely sickening. VAR pen retake ludicrous but Argentina should never have been back in it. In the annals of glorious Scottish World Cup failures, this was right up there.
— Stuart Millar (@stuartmillar159) June 19, 2019