GLASGOW City head coach Scott Booth believes Scotland will make history by qualifying for the knock-out stages of the World Cup in France. Shelley Kerr and her players get their Group D campaign underway against England at the Stade de Nice this evening.

Booth was a member of the 1998 World Cup squad which, like all its predecessors, failed to progress beyond the group stages. He's back in France as part of the BBC's commentary line-up some 21 years after becoming the last-ever Scotland men's substitute at a major championship, replacing Gordon Durie with seven minutes remaining of the 3-0 loss to Morocco in Saint-Etienne.

“I thought from the very start when draw was made we would have a good chance of qualifying for the knock-out stages. I believe that even more now,” he said.

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“There is an opportunity to go in and get at England. Because of their defeat to New Zealand they are in a frame of mind I don't think they would want. There's a bit more hesitation and uncertainty, and not just because of that, but because they've rotated so much.

“There is a lot of competition for places in the England squad, but nobody knows who the absolute standout eleven is. You're coming in without knowing exactly what you're doing because of the rotations and that's an opportunity for Scotland.”

Japan, who Kerr's side meet in Rennes on Friday before the final game against Argentina in Paris, were winners of the tournament in 2011 and runners-up to the USA five years ago. Nevertheless, Booth predicted: “I really believe Scotland can get a result against them.

“I've watched them a couple of times and physically we can give them problems. If we qualify it would be the first time a Scottish team has got past the group stage and that would be great.”

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Five of Booth's players are in the Scotland squad and at least two of them, goalkeeper Lee Alexander and left back Nicola Docherty, are expected to start tonight. Booth says he won't let that affect his analysis.

“I call it as I see it,|” he pointed out. “In the last game against Jamaica at Hampden I said Lee could probably have done a bit better for their first goal.

“It was a great strike from the Jamaican girl but it was down the middle. Lee will look back on it and think she could have done better, although having said that she did a lot of good things in the second half.”

Booth was also on television duty, this time for Channel 4, when Scotland lost 6-0 to tonight's opponents in the opening group game of Euro 2017. For the reasons already outlined, he doesn't expect a repeat tonight.

“Without a doubt the Scotland squad is far stronger than it was going into the Euros.” he said. “The injuries we had last time out really limited the options and the quality.

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“Add to that you have Erin Cuthbert and Caroline Weir who have grown in stature, and the other younger ones are two years older. It is massive having that experience of the Euros coming into the tournament.

“There are many more options in this squad, and off the back of recent positive results as well it's a good position to be in. The expectation gets raised because of that.”

Completing the circle of his own playing experiences at major championships, a shirt that England head coach Phil Neville wore at Euro 1996 is in a display case at Booth's home near Glasgow. The two players, both unused substitutes in a group game which England won 2-0, swapped jerseys in the Wembley tunnel.