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Women's World Cup

England boss Neville slams Cameroon behaviour in controversial World Cup clash

19:21 BST 23/06/2019
Phil Neville England 2019
The Lionesses progressed to the quarter-finals in France with a 3-0 win, but VAR stole the headlines as the African side disputed a number of calls

England manager Phil Neville has condemned the behaviour of Cameroon’s players after his side’s 3-0 last-16 win at the Women’s World Cup was shrouded in controversy.

Goals from Steph Houghton, Ellen White and Alex Greenwood were enough to send the Lionesses through to the quarter-finals of the competition, but the headlines were stolen on a day where VAR’s presence was certainly felt.

England’s second goal was initially ruled out for offside against White, before VAR overturned the decision, causing furore among the Cameroon players and officials.

Cameroon would then see a goal of their own ruled out for offside early in the second-half with the game hanging in the balance at 2-0, with goalscorer Ajara Nchout reduced to tears on the field as a result.

In his post-match interview with BBC Sport, Neville feared that England’s opponents had set a bad example in front of a global audience, saying: “It wasn't a World Cup last-16 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, my players didn't enjoy it.

“Young girls all over the world were seeing that behaviour, for me it’s not right and I can’t stand here and say it’s fantastic or it’s brilliant that we’re into the quarter-final because there’s a bigger picture here.

“The behaviour was wrong because it’s the image of women’s football, and it’s going out worldwide about a team that comes to the side and start refusing to play.

“There is a certain standard of behaviour that you’ve got to do, my players did that and I’m proud.”

England held their nerve after the unprecedented scenes in Valenciennes to march to a 3-0 victory, and Neville went on to add that Cameroon were lucky not to be on the receiving end of a five or six-goal defeat.

“Sympathy? None,” he added.

“Ellen White was onside, deal with it. We know the rules, we've been spoken to by referees 350,000 times in the last three weeks and she got every decision right.

“In fact, I think at the end she took pity on them because I thought we should have had a penalty and a sending off [for Cameroon].

“In the end they should actually count their lucky stars it wasn't five or six.”