VALENCIENNES, France (Reuters) - England manager Phil Neville said he was “completely and utterly ashamed” of Cameroon’s behaviour after his side beat the African team 3-0 on Sunday to reach the women’s World Cup quarter-finals.
In a match overshadowed by the African side’s anger towards the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) over a number of decisions, Neville hailed skipper Steph Houghton who opened the scoring but was the victim of a dangerous challenge late on.
“I want to speak first. One: 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,” Neville told a news conference.
“She needs to recover, she’s in a lot of pain. It’s not FIFA’s fault, this time.
“Secondly, I came to this World Cup to be successful and to play a part in making women’s football globally more visible. We wanted to put on a show.
“I sat through 90 minutes of football and felt ashamed. I was proud of performances, under circumstances I’ve never seen before. I’m completely and utterly ashamed of the opposition.
“I didn’t enjoy the game. My players didn’t enjoy the game, apart from getting to the quarter-finals.”
England meet Norway in Le Havre in the last-eight after the Scandinavians beat Australia on penalties on Saturday.
Neville spoke of his worry that Houghton might not recover in time for the quarter-final clash.
“We’re concerned about her, she’s not someone that stays down. It was a late tackle and we’re going to have to do everything possible to get her fit for the quarter-final,” he said.
Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge