England Women’s team manager Phil Neville has not backed away from his criticism of the behaviour of Cameroon’s players and staff during their controversial defeat to Neville’s team in the Women’s World Cup second round game on Sunday.
The Cameroon players reacted poorly to two VAR decisions - one awarded to England after initially being disallowed at the end of the first-half, while Cameroon had a goal chalked off after it had been given just after the restart. Each was the result of a marginal offside call.
The African side protested both decisions, and after the England goal was awarded they delayed the subsequent kick-off to have an impromptu team huddle in the centre-circle.
Neville was clear that he would not accept similar actions from his charges, and laid the blame at the feet of Alain Djeufmadid in the opposition dugout.
“When I started in management, I think Arsene Wenger told me the team mirror the manager,” Neville told a press conference after the game.
“And their team mirrored the manager. If that was any of my players, and it wouldn’t ever be any of my players, they would never play for England again with that sort of behaviour.”
The former Manchester United man sought to praise the referee, Qin Liang of China, for the way she handled the protests, and even her failure to award what he thought should have been a penalty to England as the game wore down.
“I feel sorry for the referee,” he continued.
“The decisions were correct, and I think at the end the referee was probably trying to protect football by not giving the penalty, not giving the sending off.
“She was trying to protect football and I admire her unbelievably for that.”
Neville also urged Cameroon to back away from criticisms of the officials after the game, saying they should consider their own behaviour.
“I think what we’ve seen today is we’ve seen people fighting in the VIP area, we’ve seen Cameroon people fighting at our hotel and we’ve seen that behaviour on the field.
“So I would say get your ship in order before you start throwing stones.
“I’m just proud of my players, I’m proud of the organisation I work for, because we’ve handled ourselves with class.”