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No points but plenty promise as VAR causes controversy

Sheelagh McLaren soaked up the atmosphere as Scotland made their Women's World Cup bow.

Scots fans had a ball at their first Women's World Cup game.
Scots fans had a ball at their first Women's World Cup game. SNS Group

The river that runs alongside the Stade de Nice is called Le Var and on hot, sticky days like today it helps cool the city streets.

For Scotland, in the media glare of their first World Cup match, 'le VAR' sent temperatures through the roof and left them wondering what could have been.

From the beaches and cafes along the promenade, the girls' teams, fully paid up Tartan Army soldiers and young families, all decked out in Scotland colours, descended on the stadium full of excitement about watching their nation in a World Cup - and with just a little bit of hope.

In each seat there were mini saltires or St. George's Cross flags with drinks (all alcohol-free) served in commemorative cups. The MC was charged with keeping noise levels at an eardrum-busting level, and he didn't miss by much.

The last time the Auld Enemy met - in the opening clash of the Euros - England cruised to a 6-0 win. Just three players from that side started for Scotland in this game and everyone in the squad vowed that there would not be a repeat.

But with just 11 minutes gone, Shelley Kerr's side were hit with a sucker punch. Referee Jana Adamkova halted play and made that now famous signal to check video technology

England's first goal came in controversial circumstances.
England's first goal came in controversial circumstances. SNS Group

The 13,000 crowd held their collective breath as pictures were analysed to establish whether Nicola Docherty had broken these new, confusing and very controversial handball rules.

And to the disdain of those in blue, the answer was yes.

Nikita Parris converted the penalty and knocked the stuffing out of Scotland.

Ellen White made it 2-0 and only goalkeeper Lee Alexander prevented it from being a couple more at half time.

The heat began to stifle the atmosphere and just when it looked like the energy was sapping on the pitch, Scotland ignited the crowd.

Claire Emslie's fine finish 11 minutes from time threw them a lifeline - and by the rapturous reception the goal got, it was clear who the neutrals were rooting for.

Alas, it wasn't to be as England held on for victory, but Scotland showed they deserve to be on this World Cup stage.

Onwards now to Rennes, and the challenge of Japan.

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