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Women's World Cup

'It's not etiquette!' - Neville slams USWNT staff for scouting England team hotel

19:19 SAST 2019/06/30
Phil Neville England 2019
The Lionesses boss was bemused by the sight of U.S. operations personnel at the location where his side are staying

England manager Phil Neville has slammed U.S. Soccer for sending operations staff to scout out his team's hotel in case the U.S. defeats the Lionesses on Tuesday in the World Cup semifinal.

FIFA assigns team hotels for the World Cup and the USWNT are scheduled to check into England’s current hotel in Lyon should they advance to the final, with England traveling to Nice for the third-place game. 

England personnel were clearly surprised at the sight of U.S. operations staff scouting out their team hotel, with Neville believing it gave off the impression that the USWNT are already planning for a win over the Lionesses. 

“It’s not something that I would want my team ops person doing. It’s not something that England would do,” Neville said at a press conference on Sunday. 

“I actually found it quite funny,” Neville continued. “I just thought, ‘What are they doing?’ It’s not etiquette really, is it? I just think that that’s not something that I would allow from our organization.”

U.S. manager Jill Ellis denied that her staff members’ presence at England’s hotel was anything other than simple logistical planning. 

“The only two people who think of planning ahead on my team is my administrator, because she has to book all the flights and all that stuff, and her boss,” Ellis said.

“Everybody else, we don’t worry about that, so that’s probably who the two people were.”

Ellis also denied suggestions that the advance scouting was a sign of arrogance from the defending World Cup champions.

“In terms of arrogance, that’s got nothing to do with us,” Ellis said. “That’s planning and preparation for our staff. That’s pretty normal. 

“I had no idea where we were headed. Didn’t even know how we would get here yesterday, so they think of that so we don’t have to.”

Neville, though, believes that Ellis should be unhappy that her team’s staff was allowed to be spotted in enemy territory. 

“I’m sure Jill wouldn’t have been happy with that arrangement,” Neville said. “I wouldn’t have been if that was my team's ops person going around.”

England and the U.S. face off on Tuesday at Stade de Lyon, with the winner taking on the winner of Wednesday’s game between the Netherlands and Sweden in the final on Sunday.