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Report: FIFA to consider disciplinary actions for Cameroon after Women’s World Cup outburst

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It didn’t help that refereeing decisions had gone against them, but Cameroon’s meltdown at the Women’s World Cup could cost the team, and potentially the federation in the future.

Per a report in the BBC, FIFA has begun investigating Cameroon for “team misconduct, offensive behavior and fair play breaches.” Specifically, Cameroon’s players appeared to lose their emotions surrounding two incidents that involved video assistant referees, or the VAR.

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In the first case, just before halftime, England’s Ellen White was initially ruled offside on a goal she scored, only for VAR to overturn the assistant referee and rule White’s goal could stand, because she was onside by about two feet. After that instance, Cameroon’s players appeared to make an on-field protest, and it wasn’t clear if the game would restart.

In the second half, Cameroon had a goal that was somewhat harshly disallowed after Ajara Nchout had scored to make it 2-1 for England and cut the deficit in half. Gabrielle Onguene, who played the pass into Nchout, was ruled by the VAR to be offside but only by the absolute slightest of margins, her heel.

Again, following this decision, players lost their emotions on the pitch and it took five minutes to restart the game.

Afterwards, Cameroon coach Alain Djeumfa criticized the officiating, calling the game a “miscarriage of justice” as Cameroon were knocked out of the World Cup.

England coach Phil Neville meanwhile said that he was disappointed with the match for all the young generations of fans watching, and it’s possible that FIFA is looking at it from this angle to potentially send a message that everyone must act professional on the field from start to finish, even if tempers run high.

Phil Neville on Cameroon VAR mess: ‘It didn’t feel like football’

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An awkward, emotional, and occasionally cringe-worthy 90 minutes was played in Valenciennes. It was hard to watch at times as decision after decision went against Cameroon and their players grew increasingly emotional.

Cameroon saw VAR overturn an offside flag to allow England’s second goal by Ellen White just before halftime and VAR disallowed Cameroon’s potential first goal just after the break. The African nation reacted emotionally to both decisions in moments that were painful to view.

With halftime looming, the Cameroon players huddled for a long period of time, causing some to wonder if they were refusing to kick off after the decision to allow White’s goal. At the height of the emotions following the cancellation of the 48th minute Nchout goal, Cameroon players were seen crying, jumping up and down in anger, and gesturing wildly on the sidelines. Head coach Alain Djeumfa was required to console multiple players who lost control of emotions. Nchout in particular was inconsolable as Seedorf tried to calm her down forcibly.

After the match, England head coach Phil Neville had harsh words for the Cameroon players who he felt should conduct themselves in a more professional manner despite their perceived adversity.

“It didn’t feel like football, I’ve got to be honest,” Neville said in his immediate post-match interview on the field. “I know we get these briefs about coming on TV and just saying it was a good win…it was a good win, we played ok, we passed the ball well, we were ruthless in attack, we’re ready to play in a quarterfinal, but I’ve got to say that that wasn’t football for me.”

Neville continued, clearly targeting the actions of the Cameroon players who were set off by the refereeing decisions. He said it put his players in an awkward position as they just looked to complete a solid 90 minutes of play, praising his players for handling the situation as best they could and wishing the Cameroon players took their responsibility as role models on a world stage with more professionalism.

“That wasn’t a World Cup last 16 in terms of the behavior that I want to see from football,” Neville said. “As you know this is going out worldwide, and I can’t stand here and say that I particularly enjoyed it, my players didn’t enjoy it. At halftime they were confused about the actions, about what they should do. They kept their concentration fantastically, they did their job, but the images going out worldwide about how to act…there are young girls that are playing all over the world seeing that behavior, for me it’s not right, and I can’t stand here and say ‘it’s fantastic, it’s brilliant, we’re into the quarterfinal’ there’s a bigger picture here. There’s a certain standard of behavior that you’ve got to do…my players did that, and I’m proud.”

Neville continued to elaborate when he did his post-match press conference. “If that was any of my players they would never play for England again with that kind of behavior. I feel sorry for the referee, I think she was trying to protect football by not giving the penalty and the sending off at the end.”

With the loss Cameroon drops out of the World Cup while England advances to the quarterfinals to take on Norway.

England downs emotional Cameroon 3-0 amid VAR decisions

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Cameroon had the opportunity to become the first African side to advance in the Women’s World Cup knockout stages, but were pegged back by VAR decisions on numerous occasions and fell to England 3-0. The Cameroon players were emotionally effected by the multiple VAR decisions, and it spilled out onto the field on a number of occasions.

Cameroon got away with one just four minutes in as Yvonne Leuko landed a brutal elbow to the face of Nikita Parris down the right flank but the referee showed Leuko just a yellow card for the incident which absolutely could have deserved more, but VAR did not intervene. It was a harbinger of what would come for the African nation as they looked bright at times on the ball but also proved childish when faced with adversity.

England bagged its early opener on a controversial decision as Cameroon defender Augustine Ejangue intercepted an England cross and goalkeeper Annette Ngo Ndom collected. That caused the referee to award an indirect free-kick for an intentional back-pass about five yards from goal, and while there was no question Ejangue intentionally played the ball, there was uncertainty whether her touch was intended as a pass to the goalkeeper.

Much of the focus of this game concerned the reaction of the Cameroon players to their on-field adversity. During the immediate aftermath as Cameroon protested the decision, replay showed Ejangue spitting on the forearm of England attacker Toni Duggan, and Duggan efforted to make the referee aware of the situation, to no avail. It was unclear whether the spit was intentional as Ejangue was not looking at Duggan but at very close range, and VAR yet again did not play a part.

Eventually, England stepped up for the attempt and Cameroon put every player on the goal line, but that would not stop captain Steph Houghton from blasting the indirect attempt inside the far post for the game’s first goal just 14 minutes in.

After the goal, England remained dominant in possession but Cameroon proved dangerous in spurts on the counter. England was the team in charge, however, and they would double the lead through Ellen White deep in first half stoppage time as she took a feed from Lucy Bronze through the back line and rifled a blistering finish into the top corner for a 2-0 lead. The goal was initially flagged for offside but VAR confirmed it was a good goal as White was level with her defender on the feed. The referee struggled to get the game restarted after Cameroon insisted on holding a team meeting at midfield before finally returning to their positions after multiple pleas. The referee had a high level of tolerance not to show any cautions, and the halftime whistle came soon after the eventual restart.

After the break, Cameroon seemed to have redirected their petulance into purpose, taking advantage of a sloppy giveaway by England goalkeeper Karen Bardsley and Ajara Nchout blasted a powerful finish. However, VAR struck again and its Hawkeye technology determined that Nchout was just a hair offside on the turnover, nullifying the goal and providing the game with its most controversial moment. The Cameroon players were an emotional wreck at the decision, with a number of them crying and head coach Alain Djeumfa was reduced to plead with his squad to continue the match. Even England head coach Phil Neville came over to lend an emotional hand before play finally restarted.

Another mistake at the back by England’s Alex Greenwood let Alexandra Takounda have a free path at goal but Bardsley saved well in the one-on-one. Greenwood made amends and picked up England’s third in the 58th minute off a set-piece and the game was for all intents and purposes over with Cameroon all over the place. England continued to pour on the attack and came close to a fourth on multiple occasions. In the 82nd minute England broke but a shot was cleared off the line by Estelle Johnson who raced back to save Cameroon from  conceding again. Cameroon pushed for a consolation strike late but could not find the moment.

Deep into stoppage time, VAR again was consulted to show Cameroon substitute Alexandra Takounda a yellow card for a studs-up tackle on Houghton on a decision that could have again resulted in a red. Cameroon players again reacted petulantly to Houghton’s injury, screaming at her and the referee during the VAR check.

Mercifully, the final whistle came and England moved on to the quarterfinals where they will take on Norway, a rematch of a knockout stage match four years ago. Cameroon bows out and it remains that no African team has won a World Cup knockout stage game.

England U-21’s collapse late again in defeat to Romania

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A wild final 15 minutes saw Romania come out on top of England at the U-21 Euros, sealing a disappointing end to their tournament in the group stage after just two matches.

The game was 0-0 through the first half as England looked spotty and Romania struggled to get past Manchester United goalkeeper Dean Henderson. Questions will be asked of England boss Andy Boothroyd who controversially chose to bench sparkling Manchester City midfielder Phil Foden and the team appeared toothless without him.

Foden came on in the 57th minute but it remained scoreless until the 76th minute when it all kicked off with a bang. Inter youth product and Palermo striker George Puscas struck from the penalty spot after Everton youth product Jonjoe Kenny tripped Romanian substitute Florinel Coman in the area.

That lit the fuse and the game exploded. Leicester City’s Demari Gray equalized three minutes later off a set-piece situation, but Romania would go in front again via Ianis Hagi, son of the great Gheorghe Hagi, who deposited a low piledriver for the lead with five minutes to go, although the game was far from over. Just a minute later Tammy Abraham collected a cross onto his chest and produced a fine cut finish for another England equalizer at 2-2.

That is where England collapsed and Coman became a hero. Having already created one chance with earning the earlier penalty, the Steaua Bucuresti winger bagged a late brace, first striking on a gift from Henderson on a speculative shot from distance that squirted underneath the goalkeeper. The second was far more deserving of a late winner, a glittering volley on the bounce from well outside the box that rose and dipped into the top-left corner.

The late flop is the second of the tournament for England and ultimately becomes their legacy for the summer. They collapsed late in a 2-1 defeat to France in their group stage opener, seeing Crystal Palace full-back and rumored Manchester United target Aaron Wan-Bissaka turn home an unlikely own-goal in the 95th minute.

Boothroyd, who signed a contract extension just this summer immediately prior to the tournament, was criticized heavily for his team selection, most notably for Foden’s initial absence but also for his handling of the 90 minutes. He brought Ryan Sessegnon off the bench at halftime, only for the Fulham youngster to pull up injured 12 minutes later, requiring a substitute himself in a move that finally saw Foden enter the fray. For a team that won eight matches in qualifying for the competition, the face-first stagger marks a downright embarrassing result.

England is eliminated no matter the rest of the group stage results, given the best they can do is finish level with France who beat them head-to-head. They still have a chance to save face as they take on Croatia in their final group stage match despite their fate already sealed. Croatia was thumped in its first game against Romania 4-1 and takes on France later today needing a win to keep them a live. Should Croatia lose that, the final group stage match between the two sides would be nothing more than a consolation prize.

Women’s World Cup: England win, Argentina’s historic comeback (video)

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There were only two games on tap during Wednesday’s Women’s World Cup action, but it certainly didn’t lack in any drama, as VAR showed its ugly side.

Here’s a roundup of what went down in Nice and Paris.

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England 2-0 Japan

Forward Ellen White scored a brace for the Three Lions as it completed a perfect run through the group stage, beating Japan, 2-0 in the final group stage match. England dominated the match throughout, as Japan looked a shell of the nation that made it to the last two World Cup finals.

Phil Neville employed the Three Lions to use a high press and it worked, constantly forcing Japan into turnovers, one of which set up the opener.

Georgia Stanway used a nice turn, change of pace and strength to hold off her defender before finding White in space. White beat Japan’s offside trap before dinking a shot past Japan’s Ayaka Yamashita.

Yuka Sugasawa gave Japan some life in the second half with her introduction in the 61st minute, but White scored her second goal of the match in the 84th minute to basically put the match away.

With the win, England moves on to the knockout round and will face the third place team from Groups B/E/F on Sunday. Japan meanwhile will face the winners of Group E, likely either Canada or the Netherlands.

Argentina 3-3 Scotland

Argentina completed an historic comeback over Scotland, scoring three goals in the final 20 minutes plus stoppage time of the match at the Parc des Princes in Paris to draw, 3-3, knocking Scotland out of the tournament.

VAR played a big role late, as Argentina were awarded a penalty kick and then given a re-take after Lee Alexander jumped off her line before making the save.

Amazingly, Scotland was up 3-0 heading into the 70th minute and were cruising towards victory. Kim Little scored the opener in the 19th minute off a pass from Erin Cuthbert after Vanina Correa had already denied Cuthbert. Scotland than scored twice more in the second half off corner kicks, the first on the second phase with a header from Jenny Beatty and the second on the loose ball in front of goal by Cuthbert.

Argentina then began its incredible comeback in the 74th minute with Milagros Menéndez side-footing home. Florencia Bonsegundo helped get Argentina’s second with a terrific curling effort that caromed off Lee Alexander and in for a goal.

The drama increased as just before the 90th minute, Aldana Cometti was brought down in the box. Initially, the referee RI Hyang Ok of North Korea did not rule a penalty kick but after going to the VAR, Hyang Ok changed her mind and awarded a penalty.

Yet, just like on Monday between France and Nigeria, the goalkeeper was the hero as Alexander made the initial penalty kick save and then saved the rebound from Bonsegundo. Seconds later, after another VAR consultation, it was shown that Alexander jumped off the line before the shot, leading to another controversial re-take.

This time, Bonsegundo didn’t miss and Argentina came away with a wild point.

With only two points, Argentina needs Cameroon-New Zealand and Chile-Thailand to both finish in draws in order for Argentina to advance. Unfortunately for Scotland, it’s the end of the road in harsh fashion.

Thursday’s Women’s World Cup schedule

Group E

Netherlands v. Canada — 12 p.m. ET
Cameroon v. New Zealand — 12 p.m. ET

Group F

Sweden v. USA — 3 p.m. ET
Thailand v. Chile — 3 p.m. ET