Women's Senior
Women's Senior

Phil Neville promises more after England finish fourth at FIFA Women’s World Cup

Saturday 06 Jul 2019
Phil Neville's England finished fourth at France 2019

Phil Neville knows his England side must improve by “15-20 per cent” if they are to achieve their target of winning a major tournament.

The Lionesses were narrowly beaten by Sweden in the FIFA Women’s World Cup third-place play-off, just four days after being edged out by the holders, USA, in the semi-final.

England were relatively untroubled in their run to the last four, racking up five fairly comfortable victories, over Scotland, Argentina, Japan, Cameroon and Norway.

England 1-2 Sweden
  • FIFA Women's World Cup
  • Third-place play-off
  • Saturday 6 July 2019
  • Stade de Nice, France
But they were unable to find a way past two of the game’s traditional powerhouses, which meant they couldn’t quite equal the bronze-medal success of four years ago.

Neville said: “Everything I've wanted for 18 months – they’ve delivered everything I wanted. We’ve got another 15-20 per cent to go.

“There’s many a champion that’s had to suffer before they get what they deserve.

“My players are suffering but I’m immensely proud. In two weeks’ time, we reset, debrief, and we get back on that horse again.”

Former Manchester City striker Kosovare Asllani capitalised on a poor clearance by Alex Greenwood to put Sweden ahead early on.

Sofia Jakobsson, once of Chelsea, doubled the lead with a sumptuous curled effort.

Fran Kirby halved the deficit shortly before Ellen White, the tournament’s joint-top scorer, had another goal chalked off after consultation with the VAR.

Neville added: “I just think maybe there was a carry-on from the semi-final; the emotion. Both teams were on their knees, they gave everything.

“The two [Sweden] goals sparked us into life I don’t think I've seen us play better than after that first 20 minutes.”

He continued: “I suppose the proudest moment was the enjoyment my players had, the courage and bravery they played with together.

“We came to this tournament to win it, not to finish fourth.

“We gave it our best shot, we fell short. We just need to make sure that next time we’re better.”

England, who will stage the Euro finals in 2021, have lined up two friendlies for later in the year.

First up is a trip to Norway in September before two-time World Cup winners Germany come to Wembley Stadium on Saturday 9 November.


Tickets are on sale now, priced £10 for adults and £1 for children.

By Glenn Lavery