Women’s World Cup - England stars shake off Cameroon treament

Millie Bright: England defender says Lionesses had to win physical battle against Cameroon.
Millie Bright: England defender says Lionesses had to win physical battle against Cameroon.
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Sheffield’s Millie Bright admits England Women’s feisty World Cup round-of-16 knockout game with Cameroon in France on Sunday was ‘quite the experience’.

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Match referee Qin Liang (second left) intervenes after Cameroon's Alexandra Takounda (21) fouls England's Steph Houghton (obscured) and England head coach Phil Neville (bottom left) and Cameroon head coach Alain Djeumfa (bottom right) exchange words during the FIFA Women's World Cup, round of Sixteen match at State du Hainaut, Valenciennes. (Picture: John Walton/PA Wire)

Match referee Qin Liang (second left) intervenes after Cameroon's Alexandra Takounda (21) fouls England's Steph Houghton (obscured) and England head coach Phil Neville (bottom left) and Cameroon head coach Alain Djeumfa (bottom right) exchange words during the FIFA Women's World Cup, round of Sixteen match at State du Hainaut, Valenciennes. (Picture: John Walton/PA Wire)

Phil Neville’s Lionesses emerged with a 3-0 victory from a remarkable match in Valenciennes that saw Cameroon twice react to VAR decisions going against them by remonstrating with the officials at length and looking as if they might not continue playing.

England’s players – most notably Nikita Parris and Steph Houghton – were also on the receiving end of some considerably rough treatment, while Toni Duggan’s arm was spat on by Cameroon’s Augustine Ejangue. FIFA has said it is “looking into” the on-field incidents and will update in due course.

Houghton, Ellen White and Alex Greenwood got the goals as England set up a quarter-final against Norway in Le Havre on Thursday.

England defender Bright, who hails from Killamarsh, said: “That’s my first time playing against Cameroon. It was quite an experience.

It was a strange game, we always knew they were going to be physical, so we had to win that battle first.

Millie Bright

“It was a strange game, we always knew they were going to be physical, so we had to win that battle first.”

Her sentiments were echoed by veteran England player Jill Scott, the 32-year-old who now stands alone as England’s record World Cup appearance maker, surpassing Peter Shilton withher 18th match at a finals on Sunday.

She added: “We knew it was going to be physical and that if you took three or four touches on the ball you’d probably get it taken off you.

“I think we moved the ball well at times and that we’re growing nicely in this tournament. Hopefully we can continue that on Thursday.

“There was obviously a few rough challenges, but you know in games like this everybody is just so desperate to get to the next round.

“I think that was the same for Cameroon and they probably knew we were going to be technically too good for them, so they probably had to play a more physical game and I think that’s probably what you have seen.”

According to the BBC, Sunday’s clash set a new record as the UK’s most watched women’s football match, with a peak television audience of 6.9million.