Erin Cuthbert column: Scotland striker on haunted chateaux, Killing Eve & teqball

Erin Cuthbert

Scotland striker Erin Cuthbert will be writing columns for the BBC Sport website this summer as the national team compete in their first World Cup.

Unsurprisingly, I've never stayed in a chateau before. It's not the kind of thing people from Irvine do on their holidays.

And yet here I am, in the middle of nowhere in this massive old place outside Rennes, hoping it's not haunted or something. If it is, I'll be feart and won't get any sleep. And none of the girls better get any ideas of jumping out in dark corridors and trying to scare me, either. I'm talking about you, Lisa Evans...

I suppose being at the World Cup is about making memories and having new experiences and this is certainly one of them.

Rennes was 15 degrees, rain, thunder forecast when we arrived on Monday - not quite the same as Nice, which was an incredible place and like nowhere I'd ever been before, even the Costa del Ayrshire. It was only a couple of hours on the plane but what a difference.

Still, the flight - and the hour delay sitting on the runway in Nice - gave me time to start a new boxset. I've hummed and hawed over a few things since we've been here but I've been desperately waiting for the second season of Killing Eve and the whole lot is now on the iPlayer so I got battered into that.

We've not been able to watch Love Island either, because the signal wasn't great in the hotel in Nice so I struggled to get it loaded. Raging. I've been avoiding social media at the times it's on because I can't be having spoilers but I'm now thinking it's maybe too far gone for me to start... unless I binge-watch a load of them on our day off.

The Nintendo didn't even get out of the case in Nice because we were pretty central and had a lot of family time, and we couldn't get it hooked up to the TV here. So we had a 'games day' instead on Tuesday of darts, snooker and mini golf, which Claire Emslie beat me at.

We've also got a teqball table, which is like football table tennis. I think the girls at Arsenal have one at the training ground so Lisa was good at it, but so was Lee Alexander. Mind you, she was on it most of the day mastering it. It's all about bragging rights and whoever gets beat will get a slagging.

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Watch: Inside Scotland's chateau

It's important that we have that time to switch off and refresh ourselves mentally and physically, because it's a pretty intense atmosphere, being at a major tournament. As well as the matches and training, you've got the media stuff, travel, analysis sessions and all sorts but Shelley Kerr has been good at giving us free time.

My dad Steve, mum Jacqui, sister Emma and her boyfriend Darren were just 20 minutes from us in Nice so I saw them quite a bit, and they even popped round after breakfast on Monday before we left. I'll not see them until after the Japan match on Friday now because they are staying in Nice for a few more days before heading up to Rennes for the game. All right for some, eh?

I don't think they even planned it like that; it was just that they are doing things the other way round from us, by getting to cities just before the game and staying for a bit after. I suppose we've got to prep to play football and they've got to prep for a suntan...

'Nobody even claimed for the penalty'

After losing to England, it's all about getting something from the Japan game now. In a way, it's maybe easier now because we know exactly what we have to do and if there were any opening-game nerves, they will be gone.

I remember watching Japan in the last World Cup final and they're really technical and like to play in little triangles. In their first game, they struggled a little bit with Argentina's physicality and that's something we can try to exploit against them too.

The way we played in the second half against England gives us encouragement because we caused them problems. We weren't good enough individually or collectively in the first half and we left gaps all over the pitch, but the penalty killed us a little bit. It was my first time playing with VAR and I didn't realise what was going on at first, because none of the England players claimed for it and it was a hard one to take.

But in the dressing room at half-time, everyone was reasonably calm and collected and we all took responsibility. Shelley made a wee adjustment and reminded us that every goal could count in this group when it comes to qualifying, so who knows how important Claire Emslie's goal could end up being?

Erin Cuthbert was speaking to BBC Sport's Richard Winton

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