Women's World Cup: Scotland out after late VAR drama, England beat Japan to top group
Phil Neville's side to face third-placed finisher in next round - either China, Cameroon, New Zealand, Chile or Thailand
By Ben Grounds
Last Updated: 20/06/19 7:44am
Scotland crashed out of the Women's World Cup after a dramatic 3-3 draw with Argentina as England finished top of Group D with a 2-0 win over Japan.
Shelley Kerr's side surrendered a 3-0 lead in the final 20 minutes to draw 3-3 following late VAR drama in stoppage time, which saw Florencia Bonsegundo's penalty saved by Lee Alexander - only for the referee to demand a retake - which was converted to send Scotland home.
Kim Little (19), Jenny Beattie (49) and Erin Cuthbert (69) had put Scotland in complete control at the Parc des Princes.
But after Milagros Menendez reduced the arrears with 16 minutes remaining, Bonsegundo's dipping strike ricocheted in off the back of Alexander to give Argentina hope.
Scotland thought they had earned a reprieve when Bonsegundo's VAR-awarded penalty was saved by Alexander in stoppage time, but the Glasgow City goalkeeper was deemed to have encroached off her line, allowing Bonsegundo to complete a remarkable comeback.
It is the end of the road for Scotland, who must be wondering how they allowed Argentina to claim an unlikely point.
Little struck the opener from Cuthbert's cut-back before Beattie was on hand to head home Caroline Weir's cross to give Kerr's side a two-goal lead four minutes into the second half.
Cuthbert stretched Scotland's advantage when she was fastest to react to Vanina Correra's save from Leanne Crichton's header, but substitute Menendez immediately reduced the deficit with a composed finish from Dalila Ippolito's pass.
Bonsegundo was then allowed to shoot from the edge of the box, and despite Alexander getting a hand to it, the ball bounced over the line off the Scotland goalkeeper's back to set up a nervy final 10 minutes.
Scotland thought they had held on, but after the North Korean referee Ri Hyang-ok consulted VAR, Sophie Howard was penalised for a foul inside the box on Aldana Cometti.
Alexander kept out Bonsegundo's effort, but the Huelva midfielder was allowed a second chance after Ri ordered a retake, deeming the Scotland goalkeeper had stepped off her line before Bonsegundo had struck the ball.
The Argentina winger made no mistake the second time around as Scotland crashed out - but England march on.
The Lionesses, who had already qualified for the last 16 and needed to avoid defeat to win the group, went ahead against Japan just before the quarter-hour mark through White's cool finish following good work by Georgia Stanway.
White then slotted in her second, and third of the tournament, with six minutes of normal time remaining having been teed up by substitute Karen Carney.
Japan goalkeeper Ayaka Yamashita made a number of fine saves during the contest at the Allianz Riviera, after her counterpart Karen Bardsley had done well to tip a Kumi Yokoyama free-kick onto the bar in ninth minute.
England then survived a number of scares as Japan stepped up their search for an equaliser, with substitute Yuika Sugasawa to the fore.
Steph Houghton executed a perfectly-timed tackle in the box in the 66th minute to take the ball away from Sugasawa, who then had a shot saved by Bardsley.
Sugasawa then steered the ball into the side-netting on the stretch, before White popped up with her second goal, beating Yamashita from just inside the box as she connected with Carney's threaded pass.
Bardsley subsequently denied Sugasawa once again before the full-time whistle, which left second-placed Japan, who had also secured last-16 qualification prior to the match, set to face Holland or Canada in the last 16.
Phil Neville's England will now face a third-placed finisher in the next round - either China (Group B), or Cameroon or New Zealand (Group E), or Chile or Thailand (Group F).
Their opponents will be determined on Thursday when Groups E and F conclude, and the match will take place on Sunday in Valenciennes.
Scotland coach Shelley Kerr: "It's quite hard right now. Obviously we were 3-0 up and looking quite comfortable. Their first goal changed the whole complexion.
"For 70 minutes we were very good and we didn't manage to see the game out, but at this moment in time we feel very hard done by.
"It's very difficult to comment right now, but I think there were certainly a few decisions again which didn't go our way. This is a World Cup and you need the officials to make the right calls and I think there were a few that went against us.
"It's bitterly disappointing. But saying that we should still manage the game. We'll not take away that fact, but yes, bitterly disappointing."
England coach Phil Neville: "That's what rotation is all about. It's not about throwing 23 players into a hat and pulling out 11.
"We strategically plan each rotation. Sometimes if you make more than five changes you suffer in the rhythm and flow and I think we did tonight. But I think it was the game we needed to keep us focused."