Phil Neville, one of The Class of '92 has a great family sporting history. His dad Neville Neville was a professional cricketer, his mother Jill is General Manager and Secretary of nearby Bury FC in League 1 , his brother Phil swapped playing for punditry and twin sister Tracey is coach of the England Ladies netball team.
The 4-1 thrashing of France early yesterday in the first of a double header in the SHE BELIEVES CUP in Columbus OH was only the 2nd victory in 44 years over Les Bleus, and thoroughly deserved. Tony Dugan, now with Barcelona in the 7th minute, followed by Jill Scott, 28, Jodie Taylor 34 and a fourth after half time by Fran Kirby on 46 minutes showed early dominance. France scored their only goal in the 77th minute from sub. Gaetane Iza Laure Thiney of Paris FC
Neville praised his predecessor Mark Sampson for " a brilliant foundation" after the former coach had taken The Three Lionesses to third place at the last World Cup in Canada in 2015 and to the semi-final in EURO 2017 in The Netherlands, before falling to the host nation. Columbus was cold and rainy and the stadium less than half full prior to the later match in which USA scraped by 1-0 over Germany.
I had been at Prenton Park , home of Tranmere Rovers on Merseyside on 19th September last year when the England women swept aside Russia 5-0 on the way hopefully to the next World Cup Finals in France 2019. The next day Sampson was fired. " I came to challenge them to do things better than they have done before, and they accepted and delivered on that challenge" said the new man in charge.
Neville had stated earlier this week that there would be many people hoping that he would fail and lose all three matches in this tournament. WRONG ! He did very well. Germany is up next in New Jesey on Suunday and then against No 1 USA in Orlando on Thursday being the immediate tasks. England and Manchester City defender and captain Steph Houghton was out injured and Nevill brought back Anita Asante of Chelsea, who had been ignored since 2015 but she went off injured.
" I had butterflies before kick off but the players didn't and performed brilliantly."