Keepers stand no chance under new penalty rules, fumes Scotland’s Crichton

Scotland midfielder Leanne Crichton believes goalkeepers have next to no chance of saving penalties under the new FIFA rules which contributed to their dramatic World Cup exit.

The Scots were controversially eliminated after conceding from a late, twice-taken spot-kick during Wednesday’s 3-3 draw with Argentina.

Following intervention from the video assistant referee, Scotland keeper Lee Alexander was penalised for moving off her line when she saved Florencia Bonsegundo’s initial attempt.

Lee Alexander saved Florencia Bonsegundo's initial penalty
Lee Alexander saved Florencia Bonsegundo’s initial penalty (Richard Sellers/PA)

New laws introduced before the tournament require keepers to have at least one foot on the goal-line when a penalty is struck and they are being rigorously enforced in France by VAR.

“I don’t know any keeper in the world who will be able to save penalties with the new rules,” Crichton told BBC Sport.

“I think Lee’s done fantastic to save the first penalty. It’s very difficult. It’s a tough one for us to take.”


The incident involving Alexander came two days after Nigeria’s Chiamaka Nnadozie was penalised for a similar offence during a 1-0 loss to hosts France.

Argentina midfielder Bonsegundo made no mistake with her second effort, drilling home in the fourth minute of added time as Scotland surrendered a three-goal lead to finish bottom of Group D with a solitary point from three games.

The World Cup debutants needed a win in Paris to give themselves hope of progressing to the knockout stages as one of the best third-placed sides following defeats to England and Japan.

With 20 minutes remaining they were cruising to victory thanks to goals from Kim Little, Jen Beattie and Erin Cuthbert.


But Milagros Menendez reduced the deficit, before an Alexander own goal, and Bonsegundo’s contentious leveller sent Shelley Kerr’s side home.

Head coach Kerr was attempting to make a substitution when the spot-kick was awarded for Sophie Howard’s foul on Aldana Cometti.

Glasgow City player Crichton felt the performances of the match officials denied Scotland a vital victory at Parc des Princes.


“I think the refereeing decisions the whole way through the game have probably cost us the match in terms of the three points,” added the 31-year-old.

“We’ve done well to go ahead in the game with the three goals. I think when we’re still 3-2 up, we’re in a comfortable position to see the game out.

“I don’t know what’s happened with the substitutions. I don’t know how there’s no correspondence between the fourth official and the referee to indicate that there are players leaving the pitch.

Richard Sellers
Shelley Kerr managed Scotland at their first Women’s World Cup (Richard Sellers/PA)

“We didn’t have 11 players on the park at the moment when we conceded the penalty.”

Crichton also admitted she and her team-mates had to accept some responsibility for their early elimination.

“I think we need to share the blame, and the referees need to,” she said.

“There’s no point in having two linesmen, a referee, a VAR camera that you can go and look at if you’re not going to look at VAR for other decisions that decide games.”