Scotland v Argentina: We will 'absolutely' win to face Germany - Julie Fleeting

Scotland head coach Shelley Kerr and forward Erin Cuthbert
Shelley Kerr and forward Erin Cuthbert were confident at Tuesday's media conference
Women's World Cup: Scotland v Argentina
Venue: Parc des Princes, Paris Date: Wednesday, 19 June Kick-off: 20:00 BST
Coverage: Watch on BBC Four & BBC ALBA; listen on BBC Radio Scotland; live text commentary on the BBC Sport website & app.

Scotland's record goalscorer, Julie Fleeting, believes Shelley Kerr's side will "absolutely" defeat Argentina to meet Germany in the World Cup last 16.

But she admits the Scots face "a massive challenge" against a team who have only conceded one goal in drawing with Japan and losing to England.

If the Scots win, they will have to wait to see if they qualify as one of the best third-placed sides.

"Argentina have to score and that will play in our favour," Fleeting said.

"They have defended incredibly well throughout the tournament so far, but they might not be able to defend as they have done because they will need to push further forward."

If Scotland do win to finish third in Group D, they could face the Germans, ranked second in the world and winners of Group B with three wins out of three, on 22 June in Grenoble.

Fleeting believes the key for the Scots is starting the game better than they did when losing two first-half goals in their 2-1 defeats by England and Japan.

"We have to be confident in possession, be energetic and make sure the tempo is high," the former Arsenal striker told BBC Scotland.

Fleeting said criticism of head coach Kerr's tactics from former United States goalkeeper Hope Solo in the wake of the defeat by Japan was not "fair".

"I believe in Shelley as a coach and I think the players believe in Shelley as a coach and I don't think the fact that we've lost both games narrowly has been down to the tactics," she said.

"The goals they lost were down to individual errors. They've been down to poor defending throughout the team, not just our back line."

Fleeting said there was "a lack of energy from the players to get on the ball" but stressed that the quality of opposition from sides ranked third and seventh in the world "made it really hard for our players to play our normal game".

Former Scotland striker Steven Thompson thought fellow BBC pundit Solo's comments were "a bit throw-away considering she won't have seen much of how we qualified for the World Cup".

He suggested Kerr had made game-changing tactical changes throughout qualifying - and in the first two games at the finals - and that "she is very methodical in the way she approaches every single game".

Predicting a 3-1 win, Thompson admitted that many of the Scotland players will have been frustrated not to have "reached their maximum potential" at the finals and expected Kerr's side to be "far more attacking" in Paris.

"Argentina proved quite stuffy opposition and probably surprised one or two people," he said. "I think some thought Argentina would be walk-overs and they've certainly proved not to be that.

"I am not under any illusions that it will be a difficult match - they will be stubborn. But I do feel that we have the quality to break Argentina down."

How Scotland can make the last 16

Table

To set up a meeting with Germany, Scotland must beat Argentina and then hope they are among the four best third-placed teams out of six groups.

Brazil, who won two of their games, and China, who have four points, have already secured two of those spots.

But, should they win, Scotland would have a better goal difference than Nigeria, who finished with three points in Group A behind Germany and Spain.

The teams going head-to-head on Thursday for third place in Group E, Cameroon and New Zealand, and Group F, Chile and Thailand, have all failed to take a point so far and have a poorer goal difference than Scotland going into their final games.

Should Argentina beat Scotland, they will qualify without having to wait on Thursday's results.

Pick your XI to start Scotland's World Cup tie against Argentina