England marched into the women’s World Cup quarter-finals after a 3-0 victory over Cameroon on Sunday in an dramatic match that was overshadowed by the African side’s anger towards the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) over several decisions.
— FIFA Women’s World Cup (@FIFAWWC) 23 June 2019
The referee appeared to lose her grip of the contest as the Cameroon players showed their anger at decisions and resorted to a physical approach towards their opponents, prompting England boss Phil Neville to say it did not feel like a soccer match.
“I know we get these briefs about coming on TV and saying it was good game, but that wasn’t a last-16 tie in terms of behaviour from footballers. This is going out worldwide,” he told BBC Sport.
“I didn’t enjoy it, the players didn’t enjoy it (but) kept their concentration… those images are going out worldwide and young girls are seeing that behaviour and it’s not right.
“There has to be a standard of behaviour that you have to do, and my players did that.”
Neville said he had no sympathy for Cameroon, despite their coach Alan Djeumfa insisting every decision against his side was wrong and that they suffered a “miscarriage of justice.”
“The rules are rules. For the second goal, White was onside, deal with it,” Neville said.
“We’re 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 are refusing to play… I’m proud of my players for playing a game of football.”
England took the lead in the 14th minute when Steph Houghton drilled the ball low into the right corner from an indirect free kick inside the penalty area, after Cameroon goalkeeper Annette Ngo Ndom collected a backpass from defender Augustine Ejangue.
Forward Ellen White then scored her fourth goal of the tournament as she collected a pass from defender Lucy Bronze to fire home, with VAR confirming that she was not offside after the goal was initially disallowed.
— Lionesses (@Lionesses) 23 June 2019
That incensed Cameroon’s players who appeared to almost refuse to restart the contest as they argued with the referee in the middle of the pitch, furiously pointing to the screen in stadium which showed the replay.
The match continued after Djeumfa managed to calm his players but more anger was to follow in the second half after Ajara Nchout scored to reduce the deficit.
The forward’s goal was disallowed for offside following a VAR review, leaving her close to tears amid more protests.
England added a third through defender Alex Greenwood, who swept in a first-time effort from a well worked corner in the 58th minute to rub salt into the wounds.
A game marked by indiscipline and rash challenges throughout also had its ugly moment as Toni Duggan appeared to gesture that she had been spat on by an opponent.
Alexandra Takounda was then lucky to be shown only a yellow card for a stamp on Houghton in the dying seconds while captain Gabrielle Onguene avoided punishment for screaming at the referee as well as the injured player.
“I’m afraid today we saw behaviour that was unacceptable on the field,” Neville added.
“Win, lose or draw, I’d never expect my players to do that. You have to accept the rules are the rules, that referees make the right calls and get on with it.”
— England (@England) 23 June 2019
England meet Norway in Le Havre in the last-eight after the Scandinavians beat Australia on penalties on Saturday.