On Thursday night, England’s women otherwise known as the Lionesses secured their spot in the last four of the women’s World Cup.
Philip Neville’s have been superb so far out in France, with his side yet to concede a goal since their opening match against Scotland. It has been a sparkling tournament as things stands, but it is definite that they will still be tested on their way to the trophy, should they collect it.
The Lionesses face their toughest test yet on tomorrow as they will come up against the reigning champions in USA.
It will be a task though, that Neville and his side will relish as they continue to adapt a no fear policy moving forward into the crunch stages of the competition. In terms of the nation, their success on the pitch has seen fans across the country unite in support, but in addition to that the attitude adopted by the ladies has been refreshing to see and a credit to the country.
Prior to their last outing in the quarter finals against tough opposition in Norway, England’s women faced a stern battle of emotions against a feisty Cameroon side. The behaviour throughout the match from their opponents at times was nothing short of embarrassing. There were several factors, including vile behaviour, spitting.
At times it was hard to watch, with the good nature of the sport seemingly unheard of from the Cameroonians. Throughout the game, there were several acts of un sporting behaviour, with players continuously goading the referee showing intentions to affect the decisions on the game, However, one of the worst moments in the game, was towards the end when England’s captain Stephanie
Houghton appeared to be deliberately taken out with moments left in extra time. The Manchester City centre back was in control of the ball, before being subject to a late challenge, which could in truth have ended her tournament early.
Fortunately, it wasn’t the case and Houghton managed to play against Norway, but it just shows the difficult circumstances the Lionesses found themselves in. Manager Neville was rightly so annoyed post-match stating:
“I came to this World Cup to be successful but also to play a part in making women’s football globally more visible, to put on a show that highlights how women’s football is improving.
“But I sat through 90 minutes today and felt ashamed. I’m completely and utterly ashamed of the opposition and their behaviour. I’ve never seen circumstances like it that on a football pitch and I think that kind of behaviour is pretty sad. Think of all those young girls and boys watching.”
A damning assessment to say the least regarding the on-field antics from Cameroon. England players represented the badge on their jerseys though with great pride and dignity not to rise to their opponents’ level.
One of the main aims for the Lionesses this summer was to broadcast the ever-improving standard in the women’s game, something they have definitely done.
(Image via Eurosport)