England’s heartbreak, racist Yanks, evil VAR: The Mailbox

Date published: Wednesday 3rd July 2019 9:21

We’re not happy that England lost, but we are happy with the volume of mails from people treating women’s football as just football. Thank you. Mail theeditor@football365.com


Them Lionesses
Harry B


……how very Englandy…
Logan, MUFC


…A missed penalty. A hairline refereeing decision going the other way. A red card. Crushing disappointment. The nagging feeling that a narrow defeat against a slightly but noticeably superior team was, beneath the emotion, a fair result. Given all that, how on earth can anyone say the Women’s World Cup is anything other than the equal of the men’s? We’ve seen this movie before.
Mark Meadowcroft


England were good…just not at penalties
I have mixed feelings as I review tonight’s World Cup performance. England certainly weren’t outclassed which I feared after a very one-sided first half. It looked like US pressure was going to overwhelm England but in the second half the Americans offered very little and opted for a safety-first approach.
I’d like to know the stats of second-half shots because England created more dangerous chances. White twice had chances to equalise.

It wasn’t an embarrassment, ultimately – just better game management by the USA late on, and one missed penalty the difference.
Paul in Brussels


…Was it just me that found it a bit weird that a defender stepped up to take the penalty? Would’ve expected someone like White to step up. Would’ve fancied Scott to have scored from the spot too.

I also felt a bit disappointed watching Parris; at times she seemed to position herself purposely so she couldn’t be passed to. Telford seemed to catch a case of the Joe Hart; a few really errant passes caused a bit of unrest at the back.

VAR isn’t wrong in terms of the offside, the rule itself is dumb. I’d prefer to see the rule changed that if as long as the back of you is onside then you’re onside. It would be easier to apply and allows for you to be athletic and lively on the last line of the defence without being punished for it.

Overall the result was a shame because I think USA were there to be taken. They seemed happy to play the long ball and took advantage of English mistakes in deep positions.
Minty, LFC


More, more, more on a magnificent game
Oh Steph Steph Steph Steph. What have you done? It’s not gender equality to be as bad at penalties as the men, not least because they’re actually quite decent these days.

The most frustrating thing is that this USA side seems to be no more than perfectly professional, with none of the dominance of the 2015 vintage. The defence is creaky when put under pressure, Naeher does not inspire confidence in goal and they often resort to hoofball to get up the pitch. They wait for the opposition to shoot themselves in the foot, which is a skill in itself but hardly sets pulses racing.

Having said that, in this game they at least looked a bit more threatening on the counter-attack, with the pace of Press and Morgan and the endeavour of Heath consistently pushing the England back line. They had pockets where they looked like overrunning England, and Carly Telford had to be sharp between the sticks.

Both USA goals may initially look like things of beauty, with good passes, inviting crosses and thumping headers, but both were results of poor play from either full back. Lucy Bronze got caught under the ball and Demi Stokes allowed Alex Morgan to get the wrong side of her.

Rose Lavelle. What a player. She glides about, caressing the ball at her whim, and everything good that the US did went through her. Her movement to find space was supernatural and she always seemed to be seeing passes that others would struggle to dream of. Only Dzsenifer Maroszan has the same quality of playing the game on a different level to everyone else.

The first goal actually appeared to settle England, who suddenly looked more comfortable in possession and able to pass through the US press. Ellen White’s equaliser was well deserved after a pinpoint cross from Beth Mead, but came after a bit of sustained pressure. The USA dropped back and looked a little more nervous in comparison and until they took the lead again did seem a little rattled.

My previous mail criticised England’s midfield for abdicating responsibility to the forwards but here they showed up and kept it very well. Instead, the forwards looked a little lost and did not have the same effect as previous rounds.

Did Phil Neville make a mistake by changing shape though? The formation had Parris behind White and while the team looked more solid, the fluidity in attack was greatly reduced. However, I think given the ruthlessness that USA possess, it was probably the right move and only looks bad because of two defensive errors and a missed penalty. On another day, this could easily have been the opposite result. Becky Sauerbrunn’s needs to buy Naeher a good few rounds for saving her.

The offside was correct, and it is only a shame because of Jill Scott’s delicious pass to set it up. The penalty call was also correctly reached although it took a few angles to determine. After Parris’ difficulties I expected a change but Houghton was just as bad as her erstwhile teammate. All three misses have been dreadful and it begs the question: was Phil not paying attention to Gareth last year?

So what next for the Lionesses? After the set piece stylings of Mark Sampson, Phil Neville’s team show a lot more bravery on the ball and have the technical quality of the best. Finally what showed them up was a lack of mental strength and possibly fitness in this heat. The psychological fragility was evident in Millie Bright’s sending off and Nikita Parris’ petulant shove on Alex Morgan soon after.

The atmosphere was stunning, with non stop noise for the full 90 minutes. England’s supporters can at least argue they made the biggest racket. I am looking forward to the Oranje tomorrow.

Steve, Los Angeles will be happy that Megan Rapinoe wasn’t playing. Although I strongly suspect he is trying to carve out a niche as the USWNT’s very own Stewie Griffin because his emails are all so unnecessarily vitriolic. I almost want them to win just to see if he what mental gymnastics he produces to explain it. Almost… because they are not as thrilling as Netherlands.

I’ll be really sad when this tournament ends, but what luck eh? That’s two exhilarating World Cups in two years.
MN Aditya


…I think we were unlucky tonight. We were a shoulder offside and a missed penalty away from a result against the top ranked team in the world and the current holders. Yet it feels like a missed opportunity. But well done England. The whole squad have done us proud with their commitment, determination, and quality of play and skill. The next and most difficult level lies in mastering composure and concentration. Too many sloppy passes, particularly out of defence, cost us in the end and often in sport it is about those moments.

Criticism is also part and parcel of sport, and I didn’t think Kirby, Parris, or Bright had the best tournaments. To miss two penalties as the designated taker puts pressure on the rest of the squad, which was the difference in the end. Taylor was unlucky not to have featured more heavily as was Carney and McManus, but Duggan, I’m afraid to say, never looked match fit given her recent injuries. White excelled, as did Bronze, Scott, and Bardsley. Not a bad word to say about Neville and his tactics or team selections either, despite the fact he eternally remains no. 50 on the ladder.

An aspect of women’s football that has undoubtedly improved is the standard of goalkeeping. No longer do we think that a shot on target equals a goal, which, really, was a worrying factor until recent years in the game’s development. The skill levels, PARTICULARLY first touch, one touch passing, and technique from the majority of players has been EXCEPTIONAL. It has been almost computer-like in some of the situations players have played themselves into and out of this tournament.

I think that the game will improve in terms of officiating – VAR played a minor part beyond the group stages for all its criticism, and offsides were not replayed in the latter stages which I believe to be the correct approach – and I believe we will see referees of sufficient quality regardless of gender in future tournaments be it men’s or women’s. Football is also a contact sport, and that has to be more strongly borne in mind. It has been refreshing to see football without the ‘dark arts’ and long may it continue, but I do think some decisions have been somewhat soft throughout.

England are going places in both the men’s and the women’s game. I want a future where the nation will tune in to both equally, and the public will be just as proud to wear Ellen White’s name on the back of their shirts than Harry Kane’s. With it comes criticism and exposure, and that will manifest itself in time, but well done England and, although it’s heart-breaking, Houghton’s miss may well be Southgate’s equivalent, and we will all unite behind a very good thing indeed.

Well done Lionesses, and chins up as we’re all so proud of you despite a feeling that a knockout punch was within our locker. As Klopp says, we’ll be back, and we WILL win it. He and Liverpool did this year and all. I have followed the Lionesses for years (being England, of course), and I have also tuned in to the WSL highlights on BBC for the last couple of seasons as well as the FA Cup finals. Give Sterling and Henderson a rest and let’s watch Mead, Daly, Duggan and Parris. It’s just the same game and I’m alright with that.
Rich (not fussed about wearing Bronze on the back of my shirt), Cambridge


Where is the spirit of the game?
Watching the England v USA game whilst sitting in a Glasgow hotel room and I’ve just witnessed Ellen White’s bootlace get called offside ruling out a perfectly good goal.

As the locals round here would say, “Get tae f**k man”

I have no problem with the use of VAR but it clearly highlights how ridiculous the literal interpretation of the rules (offside being a major example) looks. Where was the advantage to be had from that for Ellen White?

This needs addressing if VAR is ever going to be fully accepted as a positive introduction to the game.
Nick S


… can’t stand VAR.

You equalise against the best team in the world in the World Cup semi final. You celebrate with the fans and your teammates. You go back to the centre circle to start again. Then you’re told it’s going to VAR. Then you wait for three minutes while they check every angle, before your goal is ruled out because your big toe was offside. The psychological blow at that point must be vastly bigger than the advantage your naughty toe bought you.

With the penalty, the ref saw nothing wrong. It went to VAR and they couldn’t even decide if they could see anything wrong, so they sent it back to the ref. If you’re the ref and you make a decision, and your colleagues review it and give you feedback that you need to review your decision, of course you’re more likely to change your mind and (wrongly imo) give the penalty.

Well done to both teams, especially the better team who deservedly won, well done ref, go home VAR, you’re drunk.

Going to fume the first time VAR screws my team.
Pete (bum willy bum)


VAR, Karma and a magnificent game
Am pretty sure am not a pro at judging a foul but that penalty given by VAR, for England women…Am a VAR proponent but…

Anyways I guess justice was served eventually, with the penalty being missed and all.

In other news the England vs USA women game was absolutely entertaining. It contained everything that you want to see in a football match – the drama, disallowed goals, tension, the frustration brewing – the red card is a testament – and also the passion and determination from both teams. It was a great match overall with both teams showcasing their quality and grit.

I genuinely enjoyed this match and all the ‘macho’ people out there failing to watch this game jus’ because it’s a women’s game, your loss.
Vashow, Kenya (Chelsea is suddenly giving us a season to look forward to)


The Yanks were dirty
Brilliant semi-final tonight, had everything and the world seems right as it ended in glorious failure for an England team.

One of the things that first appealed to me about the women’s game was the lack of gamesmanship in all its various forms. After watching the USA tonight I think we can safely say that ship has sailed.

From diving, to time wasting, to exaggerating injuries they really weren’t very pleasant to watch at times. I wonder if the lionesses will start to moan about it at first like the men did before catching on and becoming just as bad as the rest?

The men’s game has got worse and worse for this sort of thing as the stakes have got higher. I can only see the women’s game going the same way as the same thing happens. That’s really quite sad, but we can’t change the competitive part of human nature.
Andy, Cheshire


Oh and racist
Wow, that’s a hell of a goal celebration from Alex Morgan. I was just reading what a role model she was in a nice broadsheet newspaper.

Shall we assert American cultural superiority over the English, by ‘owning’ tea drinking? Think how the English Men’s team could have been making idiots of themselves if they’d been arrogant towards the USA like that this past decade or three, with each goal celebration. What to mime consuming – the hamburgers or the Prozac?

And her celebration in front of Egyptians, would that be the comedy dance with the pointy hands?

Morgan prizes herself as a role model for American girls and even makes a second career out of it. But her attitude to English girls watching is to dismiss their role models (the English Women’s team) with a haggard old thumb-nose, which has nothing to do with the group of women on that pitch, the pitch she’s supposed to be sharing with them. And she pre-meditated it, for a World Cup semi.

That is not inclusive, that’s arrogant – so no, not for me: low rent and a poor role model.
Cheever Loophole


They are basically Germany
USA Women’s team remind me a lot of early to mid-nineties West Germany/Germany. The same arrogance. The fact they are slightly fitter and better than everyone else. How savvy they are. They beat England in Semi Finals. I don’t like them.
Michael (PNE and St. Albans City), Herts


Confused by Neville feelings
Well first of all, well done England! By far the better football played and defeated by a smash and grab raid by the USA! USA! USA! It was a great game, bit too much acting and time wasting at the end but some great skill. England’s goal was great.

But it leaves me with a problem. I now like Phil Neville. That doesn’t feel right but I even admire him after his post match interviews. Urgh.

And finally, Alex Morgan’s celebration. That was racist right? Imagine celebrating against other teams with a stereotype. Would it be acceptable for England to pretend to eat burgers and get fat? 😉
Rob, of Sweden

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