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 quarterfinals.
In a match overshadowed by the African side’s anger towards the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) over a number of decisions, Neville expressed his disappointment towards the Cameroon players despite his side’s victory.
“I sat through 90 minutes of football and felt ashamed,” he told a news conference. “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 quarterfinals. England — we had five, six, seven million people watching England play an international game against Cameroon with that kind of behaviour.
“My players kept their concentration fantastically, but those images are going out worldwide about how to act, the young girls playing all over the world that are seeing that behaviour. For me, it’s not right.
“My daughter wants to be a footballer and if she watches that she will think: ‘No, I want to play netball.’ I think it’s pretty sad. I can’t gloss over it and fudge it, and I’ve got to tell the truth to everybody.”
Cameroon manager Alain Djeumfa was frustrated with a number of VAR decisions and he accused the officials of a “miscarriage of justice” after the game.
Neville also hailed skipper Steph Houghton who opened the scoring but was the victim of a dangerous challenge late on.
“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,” he said.
“She needs to recover, she’s in a lot of pain. It’s not FIFA’s fault, this time. 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 quarterfinal.”
England meet Norway in Le Havre in the last eight after the Scandinavians beat Australia on penalties on Saturday.