đEngland 2-1 Scotland: Womenâs World Cup Player
đEngland 2-1 Scotland: Womenâs World Cup player ratings
The result offered Shelley Kerrâs team a glimmer of hope on their World Cup debut amid the heat and humidity of the south of France, with Claire Emslieâs late goal restoring an element of Scottish pride after Nikita Parris and Ellen White had put the Lionesses two goals ahead.
âIt was good to get that game out of the way,â Neville said. âIt was always going to be emotional and it was really hot. We played really well in the first half, we knew Scotland would sit back and try to contain us but we started off playing very adventurously.
âWhen our legs got heavy in the second half, though, we let fatigue get the better of us. We have to keep driving standards higher and being ruthless but I loved every minute of it. Iâm really proud.â
After missing out on three World Cups as an England player Neville was going to enjoy the moment and had no truck with suggestions the opening goal, a penalty converted by Parris after the VAR system led to the referee reviewing a handball, was harsh on Kerrâs players.
Indeed the new rules allow no scope for a refereeâs discretion even if the offence lacked intent. âWeâve been given two talks by referees before coming here, who both said incidents like that would be penalties,â Neville said. âI actually thought one just afterwards was more blatant.â
Parris won the award for player of the match but her manager was not getting carried away. âWeâve challenged every player to be the best in their position and I think Nikita is someone with another 10% still left in her.â
Ditto certain colleagues. âFor 20 minutes of the second half we stopped moving, stopped wanting the ball,â Neville said. âBut it was a tough environment.â
Kerr was left with mixed emotions. âIn the first half we were really disappointing,â she said. âBut a lot of credit must go to England I thought they were really good, especially in midfield. In the second we were better organised and it was much closer, so there are lots of positives. The pressure was off us when we went 2-0 down.â
Scotlandâs coach agreed the rules made it a penalty but still did not like the decision. âI thought it was harsh. If it had finished 1-0, Iâd feel a bit sore.â