It didn't feel like football - Neville 'ashamed' of Cameroon behaviour

Cameroon's reaction to a couple of VAR calls overshadowed its last-16 tie with England and Phil Neville was less than impressed.

Ajara Nchout refused to continue play and so did other Cameroon players, questioning the VAR decision. Coach Alain Djeumfa had to console the players, urging them to restart play.

England boss Phil Neville accused Cameroon of tarnishing the image of women's football with its behaviour in Sunday's last-16 tie.

First-half goals from Stephanie Houghton and Ellen White put England on its way to a fourth Women's World Cup quarter-final in a row, and Alex Greenwood scored a third just before the hour.

But the fractious game was overshadowed by Cameroon's extraordinary reaction to a couple of VAR decisions that went against them.

The African side initially refused to resume the match and then delayed its exit from the field at half-time after White's goal was allowed to stand, despite team-mate Nikita Parris - not directly involved in the attack - being stood in an offside position.

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And it was further enraged early in the second half when Gabrielle Onguene was adjudged to be in an offside position as she set up Ajara Nchout to convert a powerful shot that would have made it 2-1 in Valenciennes.

Neville admitted England's victory felt bittersweet, telling BBC One: "It didn't feel like football. I know we get these these briefs about coming on TV and saying it was good game, but that wasn't a last-16 tie in terms of behaviour from footballers. 

"This is going out worldwide. I didn't enjoy it, the players didn't enjoy it and my players kept their concentration, but those images are going out worldwide and young girls are seeing that behaviour and it's not right.

"There has to be a standard of behaviour that you have to do, and my players did that. The rules are rules. For the second goal, Ellen White was onside, deal with it."

Cameroon was fortunate to still have 11 players on the pitch at full-time as Alexandra Takounda caught Houghton with a late challenge, Yvonne Leuko elbowed Parris and Augustine Ejangue appeared to spit in the direction of Lucy Bronze.

Speaking at his post-match press conference, Neville, whose side will now face Norway on Thursday for a place in the semifinal, did not hold back.

"Steph can't be with us. She can't be with us - she's on the treatment table after the tackle at the end that obviously everyone saw. It's more important, I apologise, that she recovers," he said.

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"Secondly, I came to this World Cup to be successful but also to play a part in making women's football globally more visible, globally better, to put on a show that the rest of the world can see. 

"[To show] that women's football is improving, it's getting to a level now of excitement and quality, with the crowds, the stadium, what we've seen in the World Cup so far.

"I sat through 90 minutes of football there and felt ashamed - and proud of my own players' performances, proud of my own players' behaviour under circumstances that I've never seen on a football field before. 

"I'm completely and utterly ashamed of the behaviour of the opposition. I make no bones about it: I didn't enjoy the game for that reason.

"My players didn't enjoy the game for that reason, apart from the fact we're now in a quarter-final and have got momentum."

Cameroon advanced after beating New Zealand late on in its final group game, but its journey came to an end at the last-16 stage for the second time in a row. 

"It's perhaps a little too early in the day to say things right away," head coach Alain Djeumfa said at his post-match press conference. 

"I want to look at the positives as well as the negatives that have prevented us from making it through to the last 16.

"We're going to try and work on all of this for future tournaments and try to improve the game in Cameroon as a whole."

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