Shelley Kerr insisted that Scotland’s knockout stage aims at the World Cup remain unchanged despite Japan’s draw with Argentina affecting their chances in Group D.
Scotland, playing at their first World Cup, are bottom of the group table and face 2011 champions Japan on Friday. Following their opponents’ shock draw with group underdogs Argentina on Monday, Kerr admitted that the result had complicated their ambitions.
“It probably makes our job a bit more difficult because the dynamic changes for Japan,” she said.
“It was always going to be tough for us, we’re the second bottom pot three team, but we need to win at least one game. The target hasn’t changed [for us], we still want to get out of the group.”
Despite four third-placed teams progressing, a loss will almost surely guarantee their elimination from the competition. Even though Japan appear to be in transition, Kerr said underestimating the 2015 runners-up would be foolhardy.
“I don’t think it’s a good time to play Japan. I’ve been a huge admirer of them, they’re a formidable team and that shouldn’t be lost just because they drew against Argentina. I think people have been getting carried away by that fact.
“What we have to do is concentrate on our own game plan and be mindful of the danger Japan still pose.”
Argentina’s defensive game plan held off Japan’s characteristic creative play, but Kerr said Scotland had no intention of replicating it, and were instead hoping to build on their own impressive second half against England.
“The performance from Argentina was exceptional, if you see another defensive performance like that in this tournament you’d be doing well because it was really perfection.
“Have we learnt from it? Yes. Will we be doing the same? No. You have your own style and system.
“When you finish a game so strongly [against England] you need to have a similar mindset and remember the positive things, especially tactically, that helped us. It’s about taking them into the next game.”
Scotland (4-5-1) Alexander (Glasgow City); Arthur (Birmingham City), Corsie (Utah Royals), Beattie (Man City), Docherty (Glasgow City); Evans (Arsenal), C. Murray (Liverpool), Little (Arsenal), Weir (Man City), Emslie (Man City); Cuthbert (Chelsea)
Japan (4-4-2): Yamashita (NTV Beleza); Shimizu (NTV Beleza), Kumagai (Lyon), Minami (Urawa Red Diamonds), Sameshima (INAC Kobe Leonessa); Nakajima (INAC Kobe Leonessa), Sugita (INAC Kobe Leonessa), Miura (NTV Beleza), Hasegawa (NTV Beleza); Sugasawa (Urawa Red Diamonds), Yokoyama (AC Nagano Parceiro)