Kim Little confident Scotland's 'natural ability' will bring success at first Women's World Cup

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Kim Little Beth Mead Scotland England 2019
After the debutantes suffered a 2-1 defeat to England in their opening game, the midfielder highlighted plenty of positives for their next two games

Kim Little believes there are plenty of positives for Scotland to take into the rest of their first Women’s World Cup, after their opening fixture ended in a 2-1 defeat to England.

Nikita Parris’ penalty broke the deadlock after a controversial VAR decision, before Ellen White doubled the Lionesses’ lead just before half-time.

But Shelley Kerr’s side played much better in the second half, as Claire Emslie’s goal made it a nervy finish for England, and Little is confident they can show more of their quality in their next two games.

“Obviously I’m disappointed we didn’t get any points from the game, but I think from our first to second-half performance you can see the improvement in what we’re capable of,” she said.

“We have natural ability in our team and I think it was eventually going to come through at some point.

“We flattened in midfield to create less space for England and make it easy to pick up the ball, especially for myself and Caroline [Weir]. We had a bit more belief too, but we know we have that ability.

“We play against and with a lot of the [England] players so we know what we’re capable of and the level of quality we have in comparison to them. But they have a little bit more experience than us maybe.

“We can’t do anything about it now, that’s three points gone but there’s six more we can get. So we’ll look forward and hope to do that.”

Scotland’s next clash in Group D sees them take on a Japan side with a lot less experience, with just six of their squad from the 2015 Women’s World Cup, who reached the final, involved in this summer’s tournament.

Kerr’s side then conclude the group stages with a fixture against lowly-ranked Argentina, who are back in the competition for the first time since 2007.

Kim Little Georgia Stanway England Scotland 2019

Asked whether the close nature of the result and goal scored would give her side positives going into those games, Little said: “Yes, I think so.

“It’s nice to get a goal and I think we deserved that. We created some good chances in the second half.

“[Emslie] scored a great goal and got in some good positions,” the midfielder continued.

“Just the quality in the final positions, getting good balls into the box, is maybe what would have made the difference.

“I think when they scored the first goal we then naturally dropped off because of the pressure of going 1-0 down, so we need to learn from that and maybe be more on the front foot if that is to happen again.”

Little also expressed her “appreciation and gratitude” at playing at her first World Cup, and her first major tournament, having missed the 2017 Euros due to injury.

The 28-year-old is widely considered one of the best players in the world and played a huge part in qualification for both tournaments, but ruptured her ACL before Scotland headed to the Netherlands.

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A leg break in October added yet another down to a rollercoaster journey to this summer’s competition, but made Little even more grateful to be on the pitch on Sunday.

“It’s great to be here with my team-mates and represent my country at a World Cup,” she said, adding that her thoughts while lining up were: “Just appreciation and gratitude for being here and being able to play football on the biggest stage and taking in the occasion, to enjoy it.”

Scotland face Japan on Friday, June 14 in Rennes, before heading to Paris to take on Argentina on Wednesday, June 19.