England boss Phil Neville didn’t pull any punches in his post-match assessment of ill-tempered Cameroon following the Lionesses’ last-16 victory in Valenciennes.
“I was proud of performances, under circumstances I’ve never seen before, Neville said in praising his players, according to BBC Sport. “And I am completely and utterly ashamed of the opposition.”
The match was interrupted by Cameroon players protesting an Ellen White goal before the half that was initially ruled offside, then Alain Djeumfa’s charges were again incensed after the break when Ajara Nchout had one denied by VAR.
Asked if he had any sympathy for Cameroon, Neville said, “None.”
“The rules are the rules. For the second goal, Ellen White was onside, deal with it,” Neville added. “We are spoken to by FIFA about 350,000 times and in the end, the referee took pity on them. They should count their lucky stars that it wasn’t five or six. A team that (is) refusing to play … I’m proud of my players for playing a game of football.”
Footage appearing to show Cameroon defender Augustine Ejangue spitting on England’s Toni Duggan paired with a late horror tackle on the touchline by Alexandra Takounda on Steph Houghton made for a contemptible affair.
“If those were my players, they would never play for England again,” Neville said.
“We are trying to promote the women’s game – we’re trying to make it bigger and better. When images like that and behavior like that go out worldwide, that’s not good,” the England gaffer continued. “Win, lose or draw – I’d never expect my players to do that. You have to accept the rules are the rules, that the referees make the right calls and get on with it.
“I’m afraid today we saw behavior that was unacceptable on the football field.”