Shelley Kerr felt Scotland were denied a penalty against Japan

Scotland boss Shelley Kerr felt her side should have been awarded a penalty in the 2-1 Women’s World Cup loss to Japan in Rennes.

As the Scots applied pressure late on, Erin Cuthbert appealed that Risa Shimizu had handled in the box but no spot-kick was given.

When asked about the incident, Kerr said in her post-match press conference: “It’s not a hard luck story but I’ve actually watched it back three times, and it’s a penalty.

Scotland suffered defeat to Japan
Scotland suffered defeat to Japan (Richard Sellers/PA)

“There’s no other comments to make on it, it’s a penalty.”

Scotland’s second defeat in Group D followed a similar pattern to their first – the 2-1 loss to to England five days earlier – with them going 2-0 down in the first half before improving after the break and pulling a goal back in the closing stages of the game.

Japan, the 2011 winners and 2015 runners-up who had been held to a 0-0 draw by Argentina in their opening game, took the lead in the 23rd minute at Roazhon Park via a Mana Iwabuchi strike as an error by Scotland captain Rachel Corsie was punished.

The advantage was then extended in the 37th by a penalty won and converted by Yuika Sugasawa, who went down in the box when Corsie put her hand on her shoulder.

Scotland’s subsequent rally saw Cuthbert hit a post in the 78th minute, then have two penalty claims turned down before substitute Lana Clelland’s fine strike made it 2-1 with two minutes of normal time remaining.

Scotland, who are at a Women’s Word Cup finals for the first time, need to beat Argentina in their final group game on Wednesday to have a chance of progressing into the last 16.

Kerr said: “We obviously conceded two bad goals, mistakes. Take that out of the game and it’s much closer.

“Huge credit to Japan. I think we saw the real Japan today, their movement was incredible.

“We knew it would be, we tried to set up in a way to stop them and in spells of the game we didn’t do that, which sometimes can be understandable because you’re playing against world-class players.

“But I thought in the second half, for most of it we were terrific, and we finished really strongly.

“I’m immensely proud of the players, because it’s their first World Cup and playing against England first and then Japan and you narrowly lose to both.

“We need to build on it, we need to rest again and get ready for a big game against Argentina.”

Japan head coach Asako Takakura was happy with her side's display
Japan head coach Asako Takakura was happy with her side’s display (Richard Sellers/PA)

Japan boss Asako Takakura said in quotes reported on FIFA’s official website: “It was a must-win game and, although there were tough moments, we’re very happy to get the win.

“We had to be aggressive and score goals, and that’s what we did. We didn’t show our true selves in the first game at this tournament but this was a lot more like the true Japan.

“I expect a lot of my players and today we managed to win against a wonderful Scottish team. But at the same time, we can still improve certain aspects of our game and we will keep discussing how to do that.”