LYON, France (AP) Preparing for the Women’s World Cup semifinal against the United States, coach Phil Neville was irritated to discover the Americans scoping out England’s hotel.
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U.S. coach Jill Ellis insisted it was a sign of good preparation rather than arrogance, but Neville suggested it could be a disciplinary matter for the staff dispatched to the hotel and bad etiquette.
As the designated home team, England had first choice of hotels and so will the winner of Tuesday’s semifinal as they prepare for the final, which is also being played in Lyon.
A pair of U.S. staffers visited the Fourviere Hotel, which is close to the old town, while England was out at a practice session Sunday.
“I think that’s important to do your job,” Ellis said. “So in terms of arrogance I think that’s got nothing to do with us. That’s planning and preparation for our staff. So I think that’s pretty normal.”
Not so, according to Neville. He thinks Ellis should have been far tougher.
“We were training, I hope they enjoyed the hotel but it’s not something we would do — sending someone round to another team’s hotel,” Neville said. “But it’s their problem. I am sure that Jill probably wouldn’t have been happy with that arrangement. I wouldn’t have been if that was my team ops person going round.
“I am sure they will be dealing with their own infrastructure within their own discipline problem.”
Based on information provided by FIFA to the media, the Americans are currently staying at the less luxurious Residence Lyon Metropole, which is in the north of Lyon.
The Fourviere Hotel is west of the city close to an ancient Roman amphitheater, on the site of a 19th century convent, with the reception in the old chapel under gold-trimmed artwork.
“I just thought, ‘What are they doing?'” Neville said of the Americans. “It’s not etiquette, really. It’s not something I would allow from our organization.”
The planning for the final hotel is the latest indication of self-assuredness from a team that saw U.S. defender Ali Krieger say it is the world’s best team as well as the world’s “second-best.”
“It’s important that our team has confidence,” Ellis said. “I don’t think in any way this is an arrogant team. I think this team knows that they’ve got to earn everything, that we’ve got tough opponents … still ahead of us and we have to earn every right to advance in this tournament.”