Head Coach Philip Neville of England exits from the pitch after the semifinal between the United States and England at the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup at Stade de Lyon in Lyon, France on July 2, 2019. (Xinhua/Xu Zijian)
LYON, France, July 3 (Xinhua) -- England's women football team head coach Philip Neville said his players had no regrets despite a 2-1 semifinal loss to defending champions United States at the FIFA Women's World Cup here on Tuesday.
"We have to allow 24 to 48 hours to sink in and get over the disappointment. There are no words I can say to them tonight to make them feel better. I can't say 'unlucky'. That's white noise to them, because they wanted to win," Neville said after the game, adding that his players must now shift their focus to the third-place playoff match on Saturday.
"Elite sport and being on top of the world means that on Saturday in Nice we have to produce a performance. It will tell me a lot about my players. I've moved on from this already and now I'm looking forward to Saturday's game. I'll see the attitude and commitment of my players. They won't let me down, because they never have."
The coach added that he could not fault his players' application, and that their achievements in France had raised expectations.
"Maybe in the past we accepted the semifinal and were happy going home. But we came here to win. The U.S. knows what it takes to win. It's the most enthralling 90 minutes I've been involved in as a manager. It's where my players and I want to be. We're knocking on the door now," Neville pointed out.
"They deserve to win the game. Good luck to them in the final," he added.
"I didn't want to see tears. I thought the way we lost was exactly the way we wanted to play. They left everything out there. No regrets. We came to the World Cup and gave it our absolute all."
Neville, who took over the position in January 2018, added, "The last 18 months gives me something that my playing career never gave me."
"We are heading in the right direction with exciting prospects. My younger players have 10-15 years left. We've got a tight unit and 13 players back home that are already challenging for the squad. The team is moving forward at a fast pace, and we won't stand still. We want to be the best team in the world, like America.
"We have made two World Cup semifinals, which deserve a lot of plaudits. We'll get there. Now we are closing the gap," he added.