Watching the match on the Spanish language station I could not follow the commentary. Visuals made it clear the atmosphere on the pitch was very hostile. Cameroon was deprived of a goal for the most technical of reasons. It had nothing to do with the Referee on the field. It was the work of the controversial VAR system which most infuriated the Cameroon team and led to the breakdown of decorum into anarchy on the pitch.
The Guardian 6.23.2019
Deutsche Welle 6.23.2019
‘I’ve never seen circumstances like that on a football pitch’
Brit Coach Neville confirms that player Toni Duggan was deliberately spat on
On an evening when Phil Neville accused Cameroon’s coach of allowing his team to “shame football”, England’s progress to the last eight and a quarter-final in Le Havre against Norway on Thursday was almost reduced to a footnote.
After Cameroon took advantage of a poor clearance from England goalkeeper Karen Bardsley to begin the second half Ajara Nchout finished clinically.
But Cameroon’s abortive first goal was ruled out after the video assistant’s calibrated lines identified a fractionally offside position in the build-up. The decision was, theoretically speaking, correct, but that was of no consolation to Nchout, the 26-year-old bursting into tears in the arms of head coach Alain Djeumfa.
As the Cameroon players and staff gesticulated wildly in the direction of the big screens inside the stadium, play was delayed again. Referee Qin Liang had lost control, and England almost lost their composure.
England emerged with a 3-0 win but plenty of bruises. Steph Houghton, the captain, was said to be in “severe pain” while receiving post-match treatment after a blatant cynical stamp on an ankle from a Cameroon player. Houghton is now a serious doubt for the Norway game but England’s coach, who revealed that there had been “fighting” involving the Cameroonian entourage at the hotel the two teams are sharing in Valenciennes, seemed even more worried about the wider damage.
“I came to this World Cup to be successful but also to play a part in making women’s football globally more visible, to put on a show that highlights how women’s football is improving,” English Coach Neville said. “But I sat through 90 minutes today and felt ashamed. I’m completely and utterly ashamed of the opposition and their behaviour. I’ve never seen circumstances like that on a football pitch and I think that kind of behaviour is pretty sad. Think of all those young girls and boys watching.”
Neville also confirmed that Toni Duggan had been deliberately spat on in the first half. “That’s pretty clear, that’s one of the worst things you can see on a football pitch,” England’s coach said. “I’m very proud of Toni, she just wiped it off and played on. I’m so proud of my players’ behaviour.
“I’ve got to tell the truth and say that I’ve never seen behaviour as bad as Cameroon’s on a football pitch before. It was like being a kid when you lost and you went home, crying, with the ball. I didn’t enjoy the 90 minutes, I just felt sad. I can’t gloss over it and fudge it, I have to tell the truth.”
He had little sympathy for Djeumfa and his risible claim that the referee had wanted England to win. “Arsène Wenger told me teams mirror their managers,” Neville said. “England players would never behave like that but if they did, they would never, ever play for England again. I would say to Cameroon get your ship in order first before you start throwing stones.”
In the second half the Lionesses should have had a penalty and Cameroon a couple of players sent off but the referee, diplomatically, refrained from making those decisions due to genuine fears the match would descend into total anarchy. By the end she genuinely seemed to fear for her physical safety.