'Nobody cares who loses in a semi-final': Phil Neville says Lionesses only thinking of winning

  • Video report by ITV News Sports Editor Steve Scott

The Lionesses arrived in France determined to return with the trophy, and their belief remains undimmed despite champions USA standing between them and a place in the final.

Phil Neville and his side are one game away from England’s first World Cup final in the men’s or women’s game since 1966.

The England manager repeated his pre-tournament stance that the team are competing to win the tournament.

He said: "You go to tournaments to win. I said earlier in the week about semi-finals - nobody cares who loses in a semi-final, it's all about winning and my players now want to win, so if we don't get the right result, we will be disappointed.

"We will feel the disappointment and we'll see that as a failure - and that's not me being negative, that's just our expectation, and our belief and our confidence now and our mindset is about winning."

Neville also revealed he had no fresh selection problems ahead of Tuesday night's game in Lyon.

He said: "No, no injuries, no viruses ravaging our squad this time."

Neville has described United States team staff visiting England's hotel ahead of the Women's World Cup semi-final between the sides as "not etiquette".

At least one member of the US team's staff was in England's hotel on Sunday while Neville and his players were out training.

"The only thing I would say is it's not something that I would want my team ops person doing.

"It's not something that England would do. We're happy with our hotel. We were training. So I hope they enjoyed the hotel, but it is not something that we'd do, send somebody round to another team's hotel.

"But it's their problem. I'm sure that Jill (Ellis, the USA boss) probably wouldn't have been happy with that arrangement; I wouldn't have been if that was my team ops person going round, and I'm sure that she will be dealing with their infrastructure within their own discipline, probably.

"It's not an unfair advantage. It'll have no bearing on the game. I actually found it quite funny. I just thought 'what are they doing?' It's not etiquette really, is it?

"I just think that's not something I would allow from our organisation."

To add to the controversy, an unidentified person was asked to leave after being spotted watching Monday's session from bushes surrounding the pitch.

USA have won every game in the World Cup so far – like England.

When asked about facing USA player-in-form Megan Rapinoe, who scored both goals against France in the quarter final, Phil Neville raised her winning mentality.

He recounted the time her studs went through his watch and joked that she still hasn't paid him back.

Captain Steph Houghton was asked about tennis star Serena Williams watching the team train earlier in the tournament, and how impressed the American had been by what she saw.

Steph Houghton was happy with Serena Williams' praise.

Houghton said: "It's been documented well that Serena was at our hotel and a few of the girls were fan-girling her. She's an icon of women's sport and rightly so.

"She's won so many medals, so many trophies, best tennis player in the world and for us to see her train as well on the court was an unbelievable experience that nobody really gets the honour of doing.

"For her to say that about us is amazing for this squad.

“That's what we want to pride ourselves on, the hard work, the ability to be one of the fittest teams in the world and to be really humble in everything that we do, so for someone of that calibre and so much status to say that about me and my team-mates is unbelievable and I'd like to thank her for that."

USA team ‘not arrogant’

USA coach Jill Ellis said her side is not arrogant. Credit: PA

FetiUnited States coach Jill Ellis insists her team is not arrogant as they prepare to face England.

Defender Ali Krieger said earlier this month that the strength in depth available to Ellis means the United States not only have the best team on the planet but also the second-best team.

Speaking at a pre-match press conference, however, Ellis said: "It's really a comment about ourselves.

"It's really a comment about how she (Krieger) feels because she's played on two different teams and she has the right to say that if that's how she feels.

"It's important that our team has confidence, I don't think in any way this is an arrogant team.

"I think this team knows they've got to earn everything, that we've got tough opponents still ahead of us and we have to earn every right to advance in this tournament."

Portsmouth-born Ellis has not been surprised to see England make progress under manager Phil Neville, who spent part of his career playing for Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United.

"A lot of us are products of our environment and he had a pretty good mentor there for a while," Ellis added.

"I definitely think the team has made strides, you can see that they've bought into what he wants them to do, you can see that they are playing hard, so I think he's done a really good job."

Alex Morgan is currently joint top scorer with five goals but insists winning the Golden Boot is not a priority.

"I would love someone on our team to win the golden boot, of course, it would be a great accolade, but that's not my goal," Morgan said.

"My goal is to help this team win a World Cup so as long as the goals continue to come then I'm happy.

"Right now Megan Rapinoe has put the team on her back from Spain to France and it's going to take players like that, and a couple of individuals each game to step up and really help carry this team."