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Wednesday 11 December 2019

Neville anger at Cameroon

CHAOS: Cameroon coach Alan Djeumfa tries to calm his players after VAR ruled out a goal. Photo: John Walton/PA Wire
CHAOS: Cameroon coach Alan Djeumfa tries to calm his players after VAR ruled out a goal. Photo: John Walton/PA Wire

England beat Cameroon 3-0 last night to set up a Women's World Cup quarter-final against Norway in a match marred by ill-tempered scenes as the African side twice reacted to video assistant referee (VAR) decisions that went against them with the referee seemingly unable to gain any control.

After England's second goal by Ellen White at the end of the first half was initially ruled out for offside then, rightly, allowed via VAR, several Cameroon players remonstrated with the ref and furiously pointed to the in-stadium screen which showed the replay.

Cameroon then thought they had pulled a goal back, only for VAR to rule against them for a marginal offside - sparking more chaotic scenes. Instead of taking firm action to force the restart, Chinese referee Qin Liang took an age, speaking to them, before their coach persuaded them to kick off.

Treated

VAR replays are not shown on big screens in the stadium though "normal" replays were, some of which clearly seemed to indicate to the Cameroon players that they were being treated unjustly.

The game then turned ugly with strong challenges, an accusation of spitting and, in the final act, a horrific tackle on England's Steph Houghton that, belatedly and again via VAR, earned Alexandra Takounda a yellow card when it looked a clear red card offence.

An angry England coach Phil Neville said what he had seen was "not football".

"I came to this World Cup to be successful and to play a part in making women's football globally more visible. We wanted to put on a show," he said.

"I sat through 90 minutes of football there and felt ashamed. I was proud of performances, under circumstances I've never seen before. And I am completely and utterly ashamed of the opposition.

"I didn't enjoy the game. My players didn't enjoy the game.

"There has to be a standard of behaviour. At times, we probably didn't know whether the game would continue.

"My daughter wants to be a footballer and if she watches that she will think: 'No, I want to play netball'."

Their coach Alan Djeumfa said that every decision went against his side and that they suffered a "miscarriage of justice".

Former England defender Neville, however, said he had no sympathy.

"Rules are rules. For the second goal, White was onside, deal with it," he said.

"We're spoken to by FIFA about 350,000 times and in the end, the referee took pity on them. They should count their lucky stars that it wasn't five or six.

"A team that are refusing to play ... I'm proud of my players for playing a game of football."

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