Phil Neville

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English women attract record crowd but lose to Germany

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LONDON — A record crowd of 77,768 for English women’s soccer saw fresh struggles for Phil Neville‘s side in a 2-1 loss to Germany at Wembley Stadium on Saturday.

England has now lost five of its last seven games, starting with the World Cup semifinal loss to the United States in July.

“I’m really sorry we couldn’t get the result,” England forward Ellen White addressed fans on the field.

White did turn things around for England just before halftime, canceling out Alexandra Popp’s ninth-minute header.

But just when the Lionesses were preparing to celebrate claiming a draw against the world’s second-ranked team, Klara Buhl struck in stoppage time.

As the rain fell in north London, there won’t have seemed much to celebrate for the hosts.

But the English attracted what appears to be the biggest-ever crowd for a women’s friendly, anywhere.

The previous best-attended women’s game was in 1999 when more than 90,000 watched the U.S. beat China in the World Cup final at the Rose Bowl in California.

The next biggest crowd came at Wembley in the 2012 London Olympics when just over 80,000 saw the U.S. beat Japan.

The increased interest in the Lionesses is highlighted by the fact Wembley has added around 30,000 fans to the attendance that saw England lose to Germany at the stadium five years ago.

Phil Neville plays down USWNT reports

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A report from the UK had suggested that Phil Neville was in the running to become the next USWNT head coach, but the England women’s boss has poured cold water on the links.

Speaking after England lost 2-1 at Norway in a friendly on Tuesday, Neville said he was happy being in charge of the Lionesses as he is also due to take charge of Team GB at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics next summer.

“There’s been no approach,” Neville said. “My focus is on winning us a gold medal in the Olympics. It’s flattering because it means you’re doing a good job. My focus is England. I love this job.”

The former Manchester United and England defender then went on to reaffirm his commitment to England and the Football Association, as he was named as one of the three finalists for the coach of the year in the women’s game by FIFA last week.

“I’ve been linked with a number of jobs since becoming England manager and that’s because my players have been so good,” Neville said. “I’ve said before, I love the job I am doing, it’s a tremendous challenge. The players are heading in the right direction and I get backed unbelievably by the FA. So I am 100 per cent happy.”

With 18 months under his belt as head coach of England, he led his squad to the World Cup semifinal where they lost 2-1 to eventual champions the U.S. but the jury is still out as the Lionesses were expected to at least reach the final four in France this summer.

It isn’t clear how serious of a contender Neville ever was for the USWNT job.

With Jill Ellis stepping down as head coach in October after delivering back-to-back World Cup victories, the USWNT are searching for their next manager with NWSL coaches Paul Riley, Laura Harvey and Vlatko Andonovski all leading candidates.

New USWNT GM Kate Markgraf will be narrowing down the search in the next few weeks and given Neville’s relative inexperience as a coach, it would be incredibly surprising to see him interviewed for this position.

The initial report stated that Ellis is a big fan of Neville and she would have a big say in appointing her successor, but it would still be a huge shock if Neville landed the biggest job in the women’s game.

Stanway scores stunner but England women fall to Norway

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The England women’s national team took an early lead on an absolutely fabulous strike from Manchester City forward Georgia Stanway, but capitulated as Norway came from behind to beat Phil Neville‘s squad 2-1 in the team’s second international friendly since the World Cup.

The result comes just days after the squad coughed up a 2-0 lead to Belgium in an eventual 3-3 draw.

Stanway will still receive headlines for her stunning effort from well outside the penalty area struck with power and pace that found the top corner off the underside of the bar. Norwegian goalkeeper Ingrid Hjelmseth gave the effort a go but had no chance at stopping the strike as it curled away from her dive.

Norway’s comeback started just after halftime as Frida Maanum headed home off a corner in the 53rd minute, and Barcelona winger Caroline Graham Hansen scored a fantastic solo goal through a Steph Houghton challenge in the 89th minute for a dramatic winner.

Neville has work to do after the two straight collapses as he gets his squad together in the aftermath of a fourth-place finish at the World Cup this past summer. England topped Norway 3-0 in the quarterfinal of that run, leaving an even more sour taste in the Lionesses mouths after today’s defeat.

The loss comes a day after reports in England claimed Neville was a candidate for the vacant U.S. women’s coaching job, but those reports were very quickly shot down by the U.S. media.

USWNT, England set for World Cup semi showdown

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Planning ahead or arrogance? That’s the question being overblown asked of the United States women’s national team following England coach Phil Neville‘s revelation that USWNT operations people were given a tour of England’s team hotel.

As the “home team,” England has the better of the lodging for the semifinal, and the USWNT hopes to be taking its place for Sunday’s Final against either the Netherlands or Sweden.

[ MORE: Will Ellis change XI? ]

So is showing up early presumptuous or just proper preparation?

“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.”

What he will allow is what both teams provide, and that’s excellent team soccer. Tuesday’s match has the chance to be a wide-open entertaining match as two tough back lines hope to defy some of the best attackers in the world.

England has only allowed one goal in the tournament, a late concession in its 2-1 tournament-opening defeat of Scotland. That means the Lionesses count shutouts of Norway and Japan on their resume, and that’s pretty impressive.

Meanwhile the U.S. is coming off some tepid offensive performances, at least by their standards. The Yanks passed at just 64 percent in the 2-1 defeat of France, and their 2-1 defeat of Spain came courtesy of a pair of penalty kicks.

Fortunately for Jill Ellis’ crew, goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher was much better in the latter of the 2-1 wins. The 31-year-old was mostly untested and shaky in the run-up to France, but outstanding in holding onto the lead.

England has become a force on the international scene, and is in its second-straight World Cup semifinal. They won the SheBelievesCup, and finished in the semifinals at EURO 2017.

Ellen White has been a handful for teams, scoring five times in four matches. She also scored the lone goal in a 1-0 defeat of the USMNT at the 2017 SheBelieves Cup.

There’s every reason to believe it’ll be a beauty at 3 p.m. ET Tuesday. You’ll be able to stream it live on Telemundo Deportes.

Ellis, Neville at odds over USWNT scoping out England hotel

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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.

[ HIGHLIGHTS: USWNT holds off France in riveting quarterfinal ]

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.”

[ MORE: Netherlands outlasts Italy to reach semis | Sweden upsets Germany ]

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.”