ENGLAND manager Phil Neville declared on Sunday night that Cameroon had ‘shamed’ women’s football amid scenes more disgraceful than anything he had seen in the game, during the 3-0 win which sent his players into the World Cup quarter-final.
Neville said that the opposition’s stamping, spitting and refusal to re-start play after two VAR decisions went against them had left him “completely and utterly ashamed” for the image created for women’s football at a time of optimum profile.
As FIFA launched an investigation into Cameroon’s behaviour, Neville said: “We’ve had seven million people watching us playing an international game against Cameroon with that behaviour.
As half-time whistle blew, Cameroon players remained on pitch, appearing to be considering walking off the field.
“I think it’s pretty sad. That’s how I felt on the touchline. Their team mirrored their manager. If my team played like that they would never play for England again.”
Neville, who revealed Captain Steph Houghton was undergoing treatment after Cameroon’s Alexandra Takounda stamped on her foot, said the opposition’s refusal to play on was “a bit like being a kid and you lost and went on playing with the ball.”
His strong post-match delivery followed an extraordinary press conference in which Cameroon manager Alan Djeumfa insisted every decision against his side had been wrong and defended his players, who claimed they were the victim of racism.
“It was a miscarriage of justice. Why should I talk about anything other than that,” said Djeumfa.
The 46-year-old refused to elaborate on what the injustices were, given that each of the VAR decisions had seemed accurate.
He hinted that the sense of victimhood had been kindled by the VAR decision which saw fellow African nation Nigeria defeated by France last week.
Djeumfa seemed to reject his players’ claims they had been racially discriminated against. “No, no, no. I just said it was miscarriage of justice. Why should I talk about anything other than that?” he said.
Neville said his forward Toni Duggan had been spat on by Augustine Ejangue.
“Unacceptable. That’s the worst of anything you can do on a football pitch,” he declared. He said the England entourage had seen ‘fighting in the VIP area from Cameroon supporters and ‘Cameroon people fighting in our hotel.”
But the England manager was reluctant to call for the opposition – the 46th ranked nation – to face suspension from the women’s game.
“I love the joy they bring, dancing into the dressing rooms,” he said. “You could feel their emotion and their hurt. The images will be powerful. That will be enough to stop them doing it in the future.
“We’re here to promote women’s football, we want the image to be good for the little girl playing in the parks. To have two African teams in the knockouts is fantastic. They will learn, I hope.
“I remember 1990, a great Cameroon team – Roger Millla. I fell in love with football because of great moments like that. The quarter-final made me want to play football for England.
“Two great teams playing for their country, running, working, trying to make their country proud.”
Cameroon players were left in tears of fury after a first-half goal was awarded to England during their last-16 World Cup clash with the use of VAR, with some accusing FIFA of racism as a result during a hugely controversial game.
Ellen White put the ball into the back of the net on the cusp of half-time, only for the assistant referee to raise the flag for offside.
With the use of VAR the referee was able to clearly see the England forward was onside during the moment the pass was played, and correctly reinstated the strike.
Cameroon players were immediately incensed and gathered around referee Qin Liang, gesticulating animatedly over the decision.
As the half-time whistle blew just moments later Cameroon remained on the pitch for a few moments, appearing to be considering walking off the field.
During commentary, BBC presenter Gabby Logan said: “We’re just hearing from our reporter Jo Curry in the tunnel that there are tears from the Cameroon players, accusing FIFA of racism.
“Obviously we don’t know what else they’re doing or whether their officials are speaking to FIFA or not but I hope somebody can explain to them exactly why that decision was made, it just feels like a very straightforward thing that should be sorted out,” she added. – MailOnline