After his England side booked their place in the FIFA Women’s World Cup semi-finals, Phil Neville said there was only one thing on his mind – winning the tournament.
Goals from Jill Scott, Ellen White and Lucy Bronze gave the Lionesses a 3-0 win over Norway in the last eight of France 2019.
England reached the semi-finals four years ago when they lost to Japan, as well as the last four of Euro 2017.
Neville said: “We're a team that's lost in the semi-finals of the last two major tournaments. The main reason I feel I was brought into this job was to get us through a semi-final.
“I don't think there's been a team that's played that type of football before. This type of football will get us through a semi-final.
“What I said to them at the end [of the game] was: 'are you ready to win a World Cup?' Because we're in it to win it.”
Neville was appointed head coach in January 2018. He guided his team to glory at the prestigious SheBelieves Cup in March and helped steer them towards qualification for this summer’s showpiece event.
He added: “I've got the best job ever. Coaches can be the best in the world but if you haven't got the best players, with the attitude, determination and the ability to learn and improve, then you're dead as a coach.
“I suppose that's why for the last 18 months I've been so confident, bullish at times, brave with the words that I'm using because I work day in, day out with a group of players that are absolutely astonishing.
“They astonish and inspire me every day. Today was one of the proudest moments I've had in football.”
In Steph Houghton, Scott, Bronze and White – to name but a few – England have four genuine contenders for the post-tournament FIFA All-Star team, and Neville did not hold back in his praise of his No2.
He said: “I think we’ve seen tonight Lucy Bronze is the best player in the world, without a shadow of a doubt.
“There’s no player like her in the world. I played full-back but never to that level.”
He continued: “Ellen White has got the bit between her teeth. She’s a predator. You feel for Jodie Taylor. She’s champing at the bit. We’ve got competition for places which feels good.”
And he congratulated his whole team for their performance in Le Havre which sets up a semi-final against either hosts France or holders USA next Tuesday.
“I thought we played no different to the previous games, we were just more ruthless,” he said.
“There was a lot of talk before the games about their strength and qualities. We've paid them a lot of respect, but I thought this afternoon 'it's about us'.
“I just had a feeling the players were up for it. They went out there and delivered.”
He added: “I’m not bothered who we play. We’ll go to Lyon, the atmosphere and occasion will be incredible. The players have proved the bigger the occasion, the better we are.
“We’re having fun.”
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