England and France advance as Neville fumes at Cameroon

By Ben Spratt 24 June 2019 18
England and France advance as Neville fumes at Cameroon

England and France reached the Women's World Cup quarter-finals, but Phil Neville said he felt "ashamed" of opponents Cameroon for their behaviour as they lost 3-0.

Steph Houghton lashed England in front from an indirect free-kick, before Ellen White doubled the lead with a goal that was initially ruled out for offside.

A VAR review allowed referee Liang Qin to correct that call, infuriating Cameroon players who soon saw an Ajara Nchout strike correctly disallowed.

The African side appeared ready to quit in protest but continued and saw Alex Greenwood add England's third.

However, having seen an elbow aimed at Nikita Parris and then Toni Duggan apparently spat at, further punishment was inflicted upon England at the end of an ill-tempered affair as Alexandra Takounda hacked down Houghton.

Neville fumed at Cameroon in a rant that started his post-match news conference – "I'm completely and utterly ashamed of the behaviour of the opposition," he said – before dismissing concerns from one journalist that the referee was biased against African teams.

As well as praising the officials, the England manager explained a mid-game discussion with opposite number Alain Djeumfa.

"I gave him support, because I think it was their players that were emotional," Neville said. "Their coach was trying to get them to go back on the field. It was a very difficult situation.

"I spoke to him before the game – they're in our hotel – and I wanted to go and give a fellow coach support and reassurance to keep playing football, this is the World Cup.

"That's what I said to him: it's the World Cup and win, lose or draw, we've got a duty to promote football, women's football, which has been a struggle for 20, 30, 40 years.

"That's why I walked over to him and tried to just stand side by side with him and say, 'Look, there's something bigger than giving away a goal or a penalty here, let's just play football'."

A far tighter contest later on Saturday saw hosts France emerge from extra time as 2-1 winners over Brazil thanks to Amandine Henry's 106th-minute strike.

An entertaining clash saw Valerie Gauvin score early in the second half, before Brazil drew level with Thaisa drilling into the net and the VAR advising there was no offside in the build-up.

Both sides went chasing the game's decisive third goal and chances came and went at either end before Henry came up trumps.

The France captain skilfully turned Amel Majri's right-wing free-kick into the bottom-left corner to settle the tie and earn a quarter-final against either Spain or defending champions the United States.

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