Hope Solo’s criticism is water off a duck’s back - Scotland’s Leanne Crichton

Leanne Crichton has been impressed by Argentina's defensive organisation. Picture: Lorraine Hill
Leanne Crichton has been impressed by Argentina's defensive organisation. Picture: Lorraine Hill
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Glasgow City midfielder Leanne Crichton, who sometimes works as a media football pundit, says she accepts the right of former USA goalkeeper Hope Solo to criticise Scotland’s opening two performances at the World Cup, even if she doesn’t agree with the American’s 
assessments.

“I’ve sat on the other side of punditry and commentary, and we can all offer an opinion,” the 31-year-old pointed out.

“That’s the beauty of football; if you’re asked to do that job and you have an opinion to share.

“We know who Hope Solo is. She’s very outspoken and very opinionated. She has been her whole career.

“Is it water off a duck’s back for Shelley [Kerr], is it water off a duck’s back for us? Of course it is, because that’s one person who has that opinion and sees the game the way she’s sees it.

“And she’s entitled to her opinion. That’s why she’s there. That’s why she’s probably being paid good money, to share her opinion. Does it affect the team? No.”

Turning her attention to Wednesday night’s winner-take-all clash at the Parc des Princes, Crichton believes opponents Argentina are a far better side than their Fifa ranking of 37 indicates.

The Glaswegian and her team-mates are now settled into their Paris headquarters after travelling eastwards by train from Rennes on Saturday.

Having lost to Japan in Brittany, and before that England in Nice, Scotland’s only hope of qualifying for the last 16 – which has always been the objective – is to beat the 
Argentines.

That is also the South Americans’ aim and, having squeezed a point from a 0-0 draw with Japan in their opening Group D match, they would be certain qualifiers, with four points, should they beat Scotland. If Japan lose to England, the Argentines could conceivably even finish second in the group. No such automatic route to the knock-out stages is available to Scotland as they can only get a total of three points. They would then have to hope results in the other groups go their way but, given their goal difference is currently only minus two, and would improve, a win should be enough to be one of the four best third-placed sides.

Although the fourth group seeds based on their Fifa ranking, Argentina are feeling their way back into international football to good effect. Their national association organised no fixtures for them for almost two years after they failed to qualify for the 2015 World Cup in Canada and only very recently – bowing to external pressure – started to treat the players with respect.

The side lost their Fifa ranking for a while and qualified for the tournament by beating Panama in a play-off. Nevertheless, and while they have yet to score a goal, their performances against Japan and England were disciplined and impressive.

“They were really good, Crichton, left, said. “I managed to catch the game against England and they were really good defensively. They were very organised.

“What I do know is that when you play in that defensive shape, it can often be very tiring.

“Whether they can continue to do that for a third game will be interesting. For us, we know the players that we’ve got and we know the systems that we can play that can counteract the way Argentina play.

“It’s all-or-nothing, so their game plan might change if they feel that they need to come and take more from the game than just sit in. That won’t be enough for them to progress, so maybe that’s something they need to consider. Not a lot of people know a lot about them, other than what we’ve seen of late, so to say that they’re just a defensive team who are well-organised is perhaps disrespectful.

“For us, we’ll be expecting a team that are going to come and look to win a World Cup game, which is what they need to do and, likewise, what we need to do.”

Crichton, who rejoined Glasgow City in 2017 after FA WSL Super League side Notts County suddenly folded, didn’t feature in either of the first two Scotland games but could come into contention on Wednesday. Even if she doesn’t, she says it is an honour just to be in France as a member of the country’s first World Cup squad.

“Obviously you want to play, but you need to remind yourself that you’re here for a reason,” she pointed out. “There’s only 23 players in Scotland that have been selected and that in itself is something special. Of course, I want to play. But if I don’t, that’s what I need to accept . As a kid, I probably would have been raging. As a 31-year-old who can rationalise the process, I would probably bite your hand off just to be at a World Cup.”