'The worst thing you can do on the pitch' - Neville praises Duggan's reaction following alleged spitting incident

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The forward has been praised by the Lionesses' manager following her restraint in a game where everything but the football took centre stage

Phil Neville praised Toni Duggan's response to an "unacceptable" incident in which Augustine Ejangue appeared to spit on the England forward.

An ill-tempered clash between the Lionesses and Cameroon in the Women's World Cup last 16 on Sunday saw a number of flashpoints that overshadowed the final scoreline - and video replays seemingly showed Ejangue spit on Duggan's arm.

England coach Neville, who oversaw a 3-0 win, said he was "ashamed" of the Cameroon players' behaviour throughout the tie but reserved praise for Duggan, who remained focused on the task at hand.

"[The press officer] just mentioned it to me now," he told a press conference.

"I think it's pretty clear, so it's unacceptable.

"I will praise Toni Duggan because that, for me, is the worst form of anything you can do on a football pitch really. There's no place for it on a football pitch.

"Duggan was fantastic, the way she handled it. I think it showed the humility and class my players showed. She wiped it off her and got on with playing football. That, for me, makes me very proud."

Neville was dealt a late blow as captain Stephanie Houghton was the subject of a heavy challenge from Alexandra Takounda Engolo, who escaped with only a yellow card in the game’s closing stages.

Houghton missed her post-match media duties to receive treatment and Neville admitted that his staff face a tough task in getting her fit for the quarter-final against Norway.

"We're concerned about her, she's not someone who stays down,” he said.

"It was a late tackle and we're going to have to do everything possible to get her fit for the quarter-final. She's a big player for us, our captain, and her and Lucy Bronze were outstanding.

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“Steph Houghton was player of the match and can't be here as she's on the treatment table, from the tackle that everyone saw.

“She needs to recover, she’s in a lot of pain. It’s not FIFA’s fault, this time.

"The big players stand up in the big occasion. I thought the composure of the two captains spread through the team."

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