Phil Neville wants England to continue 'phenomenal' World Cup in Saturday's last game

Thursday 04 Jul 2019
Phil Neville says he won't dwelling on Tuesday's semi-final defeat as the Lionesses prepare for Saturday's game with Sweden

Phil Neville wants England to end the World Cup on a high, as they begin preparations for Saturday’s third-place decider against Sweden.

The Lionesses are back in Nice, where they kicked-off their campaign against Scotland exactly four weeks prior, knowing a win will see them match their achievements at the last World Cup in Canada.

And head coach Neville believes that sort of consistency means his players can be proud of their work over the last four years and aim to keep building on it before England hosts the next Euro Finals in 2021.

"We're not going into games hoping anymore, we're going into games with that attitude that we can win and be successful,” said Neville, appearing on the Lionesses Daily show.

"This group of players have gone from semi-final of the World Cup in 2015, the semi-final of the European Championship in 2017 and the semi-final of the World Cup in 2019.

"That is phenomenal, that is phenomenal consistency at the top level.

"That's a team at the top end of elite women's senior football.

“We're one of the top teams, we've maintained that consistency. We have 23 players who are among the best in the world.”

Neville with his captain Steph Houghton after the defeat to USA in the semi-final

Following Tuesday’s semi-final defeat against the USA in Lyon, Neville revealed he had given his players time to reflect on Wednesday as they made their way back to Nice.

But once they return to training on Thursday in the build-up to their clash with Sweden, who lost to the Netherlands on Wednesday evening, he says it will be with one aim in sight.

"We have to pick ourselves up and end on a high, because that's what the best teams and managers do,” he added.

"It will be full steam ahead and we want to win that game and finish the tournament on a high to reward everybody for the hard work that’s been put in.

"If you think of the seven games in the tournament, we want six victories and one defeat now."

The two nations have already played each other earlier this season, with the Swedes running out as 2-0 winners in Rotherham last November.

So Neville knows that his team will encounter a strong opposition.

"The Sweden game in November was probably the game where we were beaten by the better team by far," he added.

"It will be a great barometer for us to see if we can beat a team like Sweden, they're consistently challenging like us to get over that semi-final line in major tournaments. I think Scandinavian teams at this moment are some of the strongest."

"The players are under no illusions that this game is one we want to win. We want to go home with something to show for the hard work that we've put in.

"Six wins and one defeat sounds better than five wins and two defeats, so I want to be laying on a sun-bed next week happy that we finished the tournament well. I will be picking the players I think have enough to win the game."

Watch the final episode of Lionesses Daily with Neville in the video player above. You can watch all of the previous shows on the official England YouTube channel.

By Nicholas Veevers