England vs USA: Phil Neville says players should be proud for ‘touching the hearts of the nation’ during World Cup

England were beaten 2-1 by 2015 winners, the USA

Jack Watson@jackwatsonsport
Tuesday 02 July 2019 23:07
England and USA fans prepare for semi-final

Phil Neville has said England should be proud for matching 2015 Women’s World Cup champions USA after their defeat in the semi-final.

England twice behind in the first half when Christen Press and Alex Morgan scored either side of Ellen White’s goal, and they could have taken the tie to extra time had Steph Houghton converted her late penalty.

Neville insisted there is no need for his players to feel any regret after “touching the hearts of the nation” following record television audiences during every round they have played in.

The England boss told the BBC: "My players give me everything. We said before the game we wanted to leave our hearts and souls on that pitch and they did, they gave everything.

"We've gone toe-to-toe with the best team in the world, they showed great experience at the end with taking the ball into the corner.

"We went down to 10-men and we've just probably run out of steam but I asked them to play football the way that I wanted them to play.

"We've come to this tournament, we've done our very best. We've not left anything in that dressing room and I've told them that there should be no tears tonight.

"We should be proud, we've touched the hearts of the nation back home and they've left their hearts on that football field so I'm happy."

Neville's side then thought they had equalised in the second half as Jill Scott flicked Walsh's pass forward to play White in and she slotted past Naeher, but the effort was ruled out for offside following a VAR check.

Phil Neville has urged his players to be proud of their campaign

Having had that decision go against them, England were then aided by VAR after White, trying to apply the finish to Stokes' cross, went down in the box under pressure from Sauerbrunn.

Having watched footage of the incident back pitchside, referee Edina Alves Batista deemed White to have been fouled, pointed to the spot and Houghton stepped up.

But the change in taker did not alter the outcome as the captain saw her attempt from 12 yards kept out.

Things then got worse for England as Bright was sent off, being shown a second yellow card following a slide tackle on Morgan.

On whether emotions got the better of the England players, Neville said: "The disallowed goal was offside. We've had VAR decisions that have gone our way, we got on with it we came back, we obviously got the penalty.

"We score them we miss them that's football. Then Millie (Bright) who shouldn't have got booked in the first half, 100 per cent, I thought the referee wasn't in control of the game to be honest with you, but she sent Millie off then to three at the back it became stretched.

"I can't ask anything more we've had the time of our lives and they've really played their hearts out."

On Houghton's penalty miss he said: "She's had an incredible year. She's an amazing person on and off the pitch and she'll deal with it the way that she does. She's been phenomenal and no blame should be attached to her."

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