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‘Feeling of emptiness’ for England over World Cup semifinal loss, says Neville

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England’s coach Phil Neville celebrates his team’s first goal during the France 2019 Women’s World Cup semi-final football match between England and USA, on July 2, 2019, at the Lyon Satdium in Decines-Charpieu, central-eastern France. (Photo by Philippe DESMAZES / AFP)

England’s players and staff “woke up with a feeling of emptiness” after the Women’s World Cup semi-final defeat by the USA, said boss Phil Neville.

The Lionesses have exited three major tournament in a row at the semi-final stage after the 2-1 loss in Lyon, reports BBC.

“There is massive disappointment as we came to win the competition, we weren’t shy about it,” said Neville.

“You wake up the next day and the burning desire is gone because you can’t achieve what you want to.”

England now face the losers of yesterday’s second semi-final between Sweden and the Netherlands in the third-place play-off in Nice on Saturday.

“We have given ourselves time to mope around, 24 hours,” said Neville the day after the game. “Tomorrow when we wake up, full steam ahead. We want to finish on a high.

“We want six wins and one defeat, that’s some record at a World Cup.”

England’s coach Phil Neville walks by his players at the end of the France 2019 Women’s World Cup semi-final football match between England and USA, on July 2, 2019, at the Lyon Satdium in Decines-Charpieu, central-eastern France. (Photo by Philippe DESMAZES / AFP)


England trailed twice, to Christen Press and Alex Morgan headers, with Ellen White equalising in between. White had a goal disallowed by the video assistant referee for offside and Steph Houghton had an 84th-minute penalty saved before Millie Bright’s late red card.

“I didn’t think it wasn’t our time [to go out],” said Neville. “When the penalty was given I turned to Mark Mason, my goalkeeping coach, and said we’re going to win this.

“After the sending off, I thought it would be difficult. They started to run the ball into the corner, their game management was world class.”

Neville said the semi-final was an “unbelievable occasion to be involved in”. My players gave everything – Neville.

He added: “I knew it would be one of those games that you will remember for the rest of your lives – 54,000 in the stadium was phenomenal. Both sets of supporters were incredible and both sets of players. It was like a boxing match when we met at the SheBelieves Cup [a 2-2 draw in March] and it was the same yesterday.
“It was just down to which team had that extra bit of quality when it mattered. We had our chances and we didn’t take them.”

Neville was happy the Lionesses played a part in record-breaking TV viewing figures. The game was the most-watched television programme of the year so far in the UK – with a peak audience of 11.7 million.
“We had a couple of objectives on and off the field,” he said.

“Off the field we wanted to make our players visible and we have done that. Doing media every day and the way we launched the squad [with celebrities revealing the players], that was a brave thing to do and it’s worked.

“The nation has fallen in love with the 23 players and that makes me proud. We have put in an immense amount of funding, investment and time into making women’s football the best.”


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