Magnificently Beat England would have had a nice ring to it.
But there wasn’t to be a second MBE in one weekend for Shelley Kerr.
The Scotland coach, who was recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, couldn’t have asked for more commitment from her players in their World Cup opener.
A VAR penalty against them had a dispiriting effect and the game got away from them in a one-sided first half that could have left them further behind than the two goals scored against them.
Few in the stadium would have predicted a tense finish at that point but Scottish determination and persistence set that up when Claire Emslie scored with just over 10 minutes to go.
They couldn’t carve out a chance for an equaliser and England deserved their win but, instead of coming to terms with a heavy defeat against one of the pre-tournament favourites, Scotland will emerge from the fixture with confirmation that they belong at this level
In the bigger picture of qualification for the knock-out phase, this result hasn’t done any damage. A draw or win would have been a huge bonus but the Scots will have a more realistic shot at gaining points in Rennes on Friday against Japan and Paris against Argentina the following Wednesday.
Kerr made two changes to the team that beat Jamaica in the last warm-up game at Hampden Park, with Christie Murray and Sophie Howard replacing Jane Ross and Kirsty Smith.
The two-year period since these sides last met has seen a significant changing of the guard. The only three players to start both the Euro 2017 and World Cup 2019 matches against England were Dunfermline’s Caroline Weir, Lisa Evans from Perth and Aberdonian skipper Rachel Corsie.
It was a similar story for England. Hat-trick hero in the Netherlands, Jodie Taylor, was on the bench. So too was another goalscorer that day, Toni Duggan. A key player for Phil Neville, injury meant Duggan wasn’t risked.
The mixture of Scottish and English fans and flags across the Stade de Nice was nice to see but there was no getting away from the fact that Scotland v England will always be fiercely contested, whatever the sport and whatever the context.
This was no different, with fouls against both sides awarded before the match was even a minute old.
It was the Scots who settled into their rhythm after the game settled down.
A triangle of passes released Emslie down the right wing but her cut-back failed to pick out Evans at the back post.
A few minutes later Evans gave Erin Cuthbert a ball to chase down the left. The Chelsea forward had the English right-back Lucy Bronze on the retreat but chose to pass rather than shoot and a promising attacking position came to nothing.
The Scottish defenders were coping well with the pressure, heat and the threat of their opponents but the intervention of VAR and the penalty goal that came from it took the wind out of their sails.
A cross from Fran Kirby took an accidental touch off left-back Nicola Docherty’s arm. The Czech referee didn’t spot it but the video referee did. The rules are the rules but it felt like rough justice.
Nikita Parris was clinical and England were one up.
Scotland just about managed to weather the storm that followed.
On 19 minutes a Jen Beattie clearance was too weak and when the ball fell nicely for Fran Kirby, her low shot from 20 yards was just wide of the post.
Three minutes later keeper Lee Alexander produced the save of the game – an instinctive near post block with her foot to keep out an Ellen White volley.
In a one-sided spell of pressure there was also a White headed goal disallowed for offside.
It had been a while since the Scots were able to get themselves into English territory but a free-kick offered an opportunity to get the centre-backs into the box. The dead ball was delivered into the danger area, where Corsie couldn’t quite reach it with her attempt at a diving header.
It was a brief respite because England were on the front foot again soon after.
Not long after the half-hour mark Alexander once more saved superbly with her feet, this time to deny Beth Mead on the angle.
Going in at half-time just one behind would have given the Scots some hope of a comeback but that hope was effectively wiped out when Corsie’s weak challenge at the edge of the box presented White with a glorious shooting opportunity just inside the 18-yard line that she didn’t pass up.
Sadly there was no such ruthlessness when Cuthbert had a chance from similar range just before the break. She dragged her shot just wide.
Scotland needed a fast beginning to the second half but it was England who got it. Mead thought she had made it 3-0 within seconds of the restart but the goal was chalked off for an offside in the build-up.
As England started to introduce substitutes, possibly with one eye on their next fixture, the Scots started to string more passes together. At the end of one such move, an Emslie shot was straight at keeper Karen Bardsley.
Alexander had been flawless in the other goal and on 71 minutes she again foiled White from close range.
Arsenal forward Evans is a player who never stops running and she nearly got her reward in the 75th minute when her first-time shot forced Bardsley into a good save low to the goalie’s left.
With England content to have what they held, Emslie showed more hunger in the box after Evans had intercepted in midfield and made it 2-1.
There were still over 10 minutes on the clock but Phil Neville will be happy with the composure his side displayed to see them game out without real concern of conceding an equaliser.