PARIS: England manager boss Phil Neville was fiercely critical of Cameroon’s players after their behaviour during their 3-0 Women’s World Cup defeat to the Three Lions on Sunday.
Steph Houghton, Ellen White and Alex Greenwood booked England’s place in the quarter-finals, but that was only part of the story as Cameroon repeatedly surrounded the referee after being on the wrong end of VAR decisions.
All seemed correct, but the Cameroon players lost their heads, especially late on when skipper Houghton was on the receiving end of a horror tackle that could have been a red card – but was only judged to be a yellow.
Neville was fuming after the game, saying Cameroon’s behaviour was detrimental to the tournament and the game as a whole.
He told BBC Sport: “It didn’t feel like football, to be honest. I know we get these briefs about coming on TV and saying it was a good win – and it was a good win and we passed the ball well and were ruthless in attack and are ready to play in a quarter final – but I’ve got to say that wasn’t football for me.
“It wasn’t a World Cup game in terms of the behaviour that I want to see from footballers. This is going out worldwide and I can’t stand here and say that I particularly enjoyed it or my players enjoyed it. At half-time they were confused about what was going on, what they should do, but they kept their concentration brilliantly.
“I can’t stand here and say that is fantastic that we are into the quarter-finals of a World Cup, because this is going out all over the world and young girls are seeing this and can be influenced by it, there’s a bigger picture here.”
Neville continued: “There’s a certain standard of behaviour you’ve got to do and my players have done that and I’m proud.
“I had no sympathy for Cameroon, the rules are the rules. Ellen White was onside, their goal was offside and I think in the end the referee has taken pity on them because we should have had a penalty and it should have been a sending-off (for a late challenge on Houghton).
“So really they should count their lucky stars that it wasn’t four or five.
“The behaviour was wrong because this is the image of women’s football we are talking about.”