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England looks to overcome ‘ruthless’ U.S. in semifinals

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England’s main coach Phil Neville (C) speaks to players during a training session in Limonest near Lyon on July 1, 2019 during the France 2019 Women’s World Cup. England will face USA in the next semi-final of the France 2019 Women’s World Cup. PHILIPPE DESMAZES / AFP

England coach, Phil Neville says the United States has a ruthless streak. It’s one of the reasons the U.S. has never missed the semifinals at the Women’s World Cup, and why the team has three overall titles, more than any other nation, reports the Associated Press.

“America has got that ruthless streak of wanting to win,” Neville said. “You saw the last five minutes of the (quarterfinal) game against France. The game management was fantastic. They took the ball into the corner, they knew what it took to win, and they celebrated like winners. That’s what I admire, and that’s what my team has now. It’s about winning.”

The third-ranked Lionesses play the defending champions today in Lyon. The winner will go on to the championship match, facing the winner of the other semifinal tomorrow between Sweden and the Netherlands.

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England has never broken through to the final at the World Cup. The Lionesses fell to Japan four years ago in the semifinals in Canada before going on to defeat Germany in the third-place match for the team’s best tournament finish.

Neville said that’s not good enough.

“My players now want to win,” he said. “If we don’t get the right result, we’ll feel the disappointment and we’ll see that as a failure. That’s not me being negative, that’s just our expectations, and our belief and our confidence and our mindset.”

There were questions when Neville was appointed to lead the team early in 2018 because he’d never coached a women’s team. But the former Manchester United and Everton star has answered all the critics by building a team that believes it can win.

“I think we’ve shown throughout this tournament that we can go toe-to-toe with anybody,” captain Steph Houghton said.


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